Donald Judd - Evening & Day Editions London Wednesday, January 17, 2024 | Phillips

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  • “The main virtue of geometric shapes is that they aren't organic, as all art otherwise is.”
    —Donald Judd 

    With its distinctive shape, Donald Judd’s Untitled evolves from an interplay between the structure and the void space within it. Spanning over a metre in length, Untitled takes the form of an extruded rectilinear grid, anodised in a rich brown coating. The hollow spaces contribute to the resulting composition as much as its aluminium casing, investigating the use of positive and negative space – a concept recurrent through Judd’s practice. The dramatic contrast of light and shadow is heightened by the aluminium's sheen and the deep casing that casts chiaroscuro shadows of varying depths, depending on the angle in which the work is viewed. The present lot reflects its industrial creation, both through the metallic medium and in the form reminiscent of structural supporting posts of industrial architecture. With its careful and exact geometric organisation to the shape, the structure is defined by a factory aesthetic and finds beauty in order. It proudly presents itself as a product of human manipulation, set apart from organic, natural form.  


    Donald Judd, Untitled (details)

    In 1964, Judd enlisted the craftsmanship of professional sheet-metal fabricators to make his artwork from materials such as galvanized iron, aluminium, stainless steel, brass, and copper. He sought to create a new kind of artistic expression, entirely separated from conventional frameworks of painting and sculpture. He focused on the exploration of "real space" or three dimensions, utilising commercial materials and emphasizing complete, unified shapes. This shift marked a departure from traditional hands-on art making and was of momentous significance for the emerging generation of Conceptual artists. They believed that ideas themselves, separate of any physical manifestation, could constitute art. Untitled stands as a testament to Judd’s experimental exploration of industrial materials, leveraging their anonymity and malleability to create a distinctive body of work.


    Crafted from aluminium, this sculptural piece was shaped with no welding or screwing required. It did, however, require an expensive industrial tool to achieve the portcullis-like form found in the cross-section of the sculpture. The aluminium was produced in a Swiss factory and it was required that 200 metres of Judd's unique design be constructed. Presented with the opportunity to be involved with Judd’s conceptualised project, art publisher Jörg Schellmann willingly agreed to absorb the pricey costs of production.

    “He made a little sketch of the design on a restaurant receipt and I was immediately thrilled by the concept. The portcullis-like cross-sectional profile of this multiple does not appear in any other edition by Don... Looking back on the pieces today, I feel it is one of the most significant editions I have produced within my 50 years of publishing.”
    —Jörg Schellmann

    • Provenance

      Personal copy of the publisher and part of the Archive of Edition Schellmann since time of publication

    • Literature

      Jörg Schellmann 19
      Jörg Schellmann, ed., Forty Are Better Than One, Munich/New York, 2009, pp. 170-173

    • Artist Biography

      Donald Judd

      American • 1928 - 1994

      Donald Judd came to critical acclaim in the 1960s with his simple, yet revolutionary, three-dimensional floor and wall objects made from new industrial materials, such as anodized aluminum, plywood and Plexiglas, which had no precedent in the visual arts. His oeuvre is characterized by the central constitutive elements of color, material and space. Rejecting the illusionism of painting and seeking an aesthetic freed from metaphorical associations, Judd sought to explore the relationship between art object, viewer and surrounding space with his so-called "specific objects." From the outset of his three-decade-long career, Judd delegated the fabrication to specialized technicians. Though associated with the minimalist movement, Judd did not wish to confine his practice to this categorization.


      Inspired by architecture, the artist also designed and produced his own furniture, predominantly in wood, and eventually hired a diverse team of carpenters late in his career.

      View More Works

Works from the Archive of Edition Schellmann to benefit the Ars Publicata Project


Untitled (S. 19)

Extruded aluminium multiple anodized in wine red.
15 x 105 x 15 cm (5 7/8 x 41 3/8 x 5 7/8 in.)
Incised with artist's name, date, and numbering 'H.C 1/2' on the metal plaque affixed to the inside of the reverse (an hors commerce example, the edition was 12 and 3 artist's proofs), published by Edition Schellmann, Munich and New York.

Full Cataloguing

£60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for £165,100

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 17 - 18 January 2024