Robert Mangold - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Thursday, November 17, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Paula Cooper Gallery, New York
    Private Collection
    Christie's, New York, November 13, 1998, lot 191
    Julien J. Studley, New York (acquired at the above sale)
    Thence by descent to the present owner

  • Exhibited

    New York, Paula Cooper Gallery, New Paintings Studies for the Attic Series, March 6 - April 6, 1991

  • Catalogue Essay

    A pioneer in minimalist painting practices of the 1960s, Robert Mangold defined an inimitable visual language, one which established that no one element, whether formal or thematic, would overshadow another. “I think the key thing about my paintings is that I’ve always had the desire to make the work be a unity, and I wanted nothing to be ahead of anything else,” he once stated. “I wanted the elements, which were the periphery line and the internal line, the surface, color, etc., to be equal. I wanted them to be so totally locked together that they were inseparable. No one area of the painting should be more important than another – even the idea.” (Robert Mangold, quoted in Lynne Cooke, “Robert Mangold, Frames of Reference”, Robert Mangold: Attic Series I-VI, exh. cat., Lisson Gallery, New York, 1990)

    Unlike his contemporaries like Robert Ryman, who relied on the monochromatic white square to define his pictorial simplification, and Brice Marden, who was more metaphorical in his minimalist practice, Mangold focused on a painting’s basic, key elements as primary players—color, line and shape. In the 1990s, he began his Attic Series paintings, a paradigm for this idea that consists of six irregularly shaped canvases. This group of works was different from earlier series of the 70s and 80s in that he began them with the intention to complete a holistic group from start to finish, compositions planned entirely ahead of time. Alongside the large-scale Attic paintings, which measure over eight feet tall, Mangold also created smaller “studies” for each, uniquely highlighting the artist’s hand in more intimate scale. The present lot, a study for the sixth and last painting in the series, exhibited in the artist’s 1991 show at Paula Cooper Gallery, is an exceptional example of this group. Rendered in burnt orange acrylic and pencil covering a trapezoidal canvas, a singular ellipse extends from the top left corner to the bottom right corner in perfect symmetry, while its encasement remains intriguingly off-balance. As they push against the edges of the field of rust, all elements seem particularly present and equal; color, line and shape are at once unified in their sheer power. In a review of the 1991 exhibition, Roberta Smith summarizes, “As is often the case with Mr. Mangold's best work, an austere emphasis on nothing but the facts of painting transcends itself into works of unexpected, almost religious radiance. In addition, the balance between line, canvas shape and surface texture seems so impeccably right that it is hard to imagine these works an inch larger in any direction, much less twice as big.” (Roberta Smith, “Review/Art; A French Photographer Who Invades Lives And Records Them", The New York Times, March 29, 1991) Indeed, Attic Series VI (Study)’s intimacy allows for an even truer appreciation of the artist’s minimalist language, a discourse that prevails today.


Attic Series VI (Study)

signed, titled and dated "R. Mangold 1990 ATTIC SERIES VI Study" on the reverse
acrylic and graphite on canvas
49 3/4 x 46 5/8 in. (126.4 x 118.4 cm.)
Executed in 1990.

$200,000 - 300,000 

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head of Day Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York Auction 17 November 2016