Donald Judd - Evening & Day Editions London Wednesday, June 7, 2023 | Phillips

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  • “Red seems to be the only colour that really makes an object sharp and defines its contours and angles”
    —Donald Judd

    It was with ambivalence that Donald Judd first approached the woodcut medium in 1953. The physical, messy nature of carving the wood initially caused trepidation for an artist who did not like to work with his hands or fuss with tools. Yet, woodcut afforded Judd a crucial vessel for artistic experimentation. Up to this point, Judd’s drawings and lithographs had included flowing lines and blended colours, but the hard birch woodcuts allowed only sharp, clean lines. With the adoption of this medium, Judd was thereby encouraged to graduate from his initial figurative depictions to the clarity and power of his renowned geometric compositions.  


    Judd’s early woodcuts largely focused on creating the illusion of positive and negative space through a single field of coloured ink. As his career and his experience with the woodcut printing technique developed, Judd continued to experiment with perception, but now through the juxtaposition of multiple colours and the division of pictorial space. In the present lot – produced just one year before the artist died – Judd uses the colours red and black to create his richly inked solids, which are segmented by the stark white of the unprinted paper. The resulting pair of woodcuts epitomise Judd’s mature artistic experimentation and pay homage to his extended engagement with the woodcut printing technique.

    • Provenance

      Susan Sheehan Gallery, New York (label verso of frame)
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Literature

      Jörg Schellmann 295-296

    • 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.

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Untitled (S. 295-296)

The complete set of two woodcuts in colours, on Tumba Zorn paper, the full sheets.
both S. 60 x 80 cm (23 5/8 x 31 1/2 in.)
Both signed and numbered 9/25 in pencil on the reverse (there were also 5 artist's proofs), co-published by Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne and Chinati Foundation, Texas, both framed.

Full Cataloguing

£15,000 - 20,000 

Sold for £25,400

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 7 - 8 June 2023