Donald Judd - Important Design London Wednesday, October 17, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Randy Walz, New York, gifted directly from the artist
    Robert Wilson, New York
    Phillips de Pury & Company, London, 'Contemporary Art Day Sale', 29 February 2008, lot 309
    Haunch of Vension, London
    Christie's South Kensington, London, 'Post-War & Contemporary Art', 16 September 2010, lot 23
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Donald Judd, Todd Eberle, et al., Art + Design Donald Judd, exh. cat., Museum Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden, 1993, pp. 50, 136 for similar examples
    Barbara Bloemink and Joseph Cunningham, Design ≠ Art, Functional Objects From Donald Judd to Rachel Whiteread, exh. cat., Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York, 2004, p. 39 for a similar example
    Nigel Prince, ed., Donald Judd: A good chair is a good chair, exh. cat., Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 2011, p. 94 for a similar example

  • Catalogue Essay

    The configuration and the scale of art cannot be transposed into furniture and architecture. The intent of art is different from that of the latter, which must be functional…. The art of a chair is not its resemblance to art, but is partly its reasonableness, usefulness and scale as a chair. These are proportion, which is visible reasonableness. (Donald Judd, ‘It’s Hard to Find a Good Lamp’, Donald Judd Furniture: Retrospective, exh. cat., Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam 1993, p. 7)

    During the 1960s, rejecting the illusionism of traditional painting and sculpture, Donald Judd began working with industrial materials, creating simplified, geometric three-dimensional forms that explored the relationship between art object, viewer, and the surrounding space. Judd considered these ‘specific objects’ – a term he introduced in his 1965 essay of the same name – a new form of art, which by focusing on material and ‘real’ space, assigned the viewer a more active role, namely rooted in perception. During this period, Judd also designed his first pieces of furniture which, whilst comparable in their materials, form, and considered occupation of space to his art, he recurrently underscored, were differentiated by their intention. Fundamental to Judd’s furniture designs are their practical and holistic requirements. Therefore, these functional objects are conceived with different rules, not as self-referential and autonomous art objects, but as interactive within their environment.

    This distinction may explain why the present, ‘Wintergarden Bench’, executed in 1988 for Judd’s solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, was never exhibited. The present example of Judd’s ‘Wintergarden Bench’ – which Judd gifted to one of his assistants, the artist Randy Walz – is one of two produced for the exhibition. Executed in solid pine, the two benches are mirror images of one another and are unique. Both benches feature an additional L-shaped lower panel that is not present on most examples of the model, which Judd originally designed in 1980. The present bench’s open volumes and interconnecting planes that meet at right angles, characteristic of Judd’s furniture designs, encourage the viewer to experience the work both physically and visually from each of its four sides. Correspondingly, its asymmetrical form is illustrative of the multifunctional quality of many of Judd’s designs.

    In 1968, Judd purchased a five-story building at 101 Spring Street in New York. During his subsequent conversion of the industrial building, Judd produced his first furnishing designs for himself and his family, which in addition to a table and chairs, included a pair of stainless steel sinks featuring ellipse-shaped basins – a form he noted that, unlike the circle, he had never used in his art. Whilst revealing their own visual language and inherent functionality, Judd’s pair of sinks have a distinctly formal presence. Following his move to Marfa, Texas in 1971, Judd continued designing furniture for his home and the series of utilitarian buildings he purchased in Marfa’s downtown during the 1970s and 1980s. Judd converted these buildings into living, working, and permanent exhibition spaces for his own work and that of his contemporaries.

    Judd developed his architectural ideas in order to create spaces that met his often multifunctional requirements for living and working, and connectedly, the specific installation of his art and furniture. Judd’s architecture and furniture designs reveal a sensitivity to proportion, which he considered fundamental to their resulting form and the interdependent construction of space. The precision of his forms and materials, combined with the rigorous construction standards, employing both local and master craftsmen, resulted in furniture that whilst inherently functional, reveals the close relationship between Judd’s life and art.

  • 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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Property of a Gentleman


Wintergarden Bench

92.3 x 87.6 x 172.7 cm (36 1/3 x 34 1/2 x 68 in.)

£50,000 - 70,000 Ω

Sold for £75,000

Contact Specialist
Madalena Horta E Costa
Head of Sale
+44 20 7318 4019

Important Design

London Auction 18 October 2018