Robert Mangold - Contemporary Evening Sale London Tuesday, July 1, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist
    PaceWildenstein, New York

  • Exhibited

    Robert Mangold: Drawings and Works on Paper 1965 - 2008, PaceWildenstein, New York, 6 March - 4 April, 2009
    3 x 3: Minimal Sculpture and Painting, L.A louver, Venice, California, 14 January - 13 February, 2010

  • Literature

    H. Cotter, Art in review: Robert Mangold, Drawings and works on Paper 1965 - 2008 (exhibition Review), The New York Times, 13 March 2009: C23

    A larger version of the work, Column Structure XXII, (2008, 304.8 x 243.8 cm / 10 x 8 in.) is in the collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    Since the beginning of his career in the mid-60’s, Mangold has explored the three classical elements of composition –shape, line and colour- to create abstract works of architectural scale. Influenced by Frank Stella’s shaped canvases, he developed multiple series of paintings with geometric, asymmetrical forms including variations on rings, columns, trapezoids and crosses with shallow moulding or other relief elements. From his first solo exhibition, Walls and Areas, at the Fischbach Gallery, New York, in 1965, Mangold has further developed his classical formal restraint and deliberate subtle tonal palette moving towards his signature Minimalist painting style. Mangold’s work has been the subject of numerous solo shows and retrospective exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad: including Robert Mangold at the Guggenheim Museum, New York (1971), Robert Mangold: Painting as Wall, Werke con 1964 bis 1993, organized by the Hallen fur neue Kunst with subsequent venues in Paris, Munster and Lisbon (1993- 95), Robert Mangold: X, Plus and Frame Paintings, Works from the 1980's at the Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, London (2009) and Robert Mangold: Continuity and Discontinuity, Cleveland Institute of Art, Ohio (2011). His work has been included three times in both Documenta, Kassel (1972, 1977, 1982) and in the Witney Museum of American Art Biennial (1979, 1983, 1985). Mangold has also exhibited in the Venice Biennale in 1993.

    Created in 2008, this geometry-based painting executed in the form of an asymmetric cross on a royal blue, monochromatic surface with evocative lines, demonstrates Mangold’s unique translation of the most basic formal element. As emphasized by the art historian Dr. Richard Shiff, "a typical work by Mangold reads as flat, yet is also a field that contains figuration; simple enough to be viewed as a totality, its shapes are nevertheless eccentric and strangely asymmetrical. Each work defeats expectations of regularity based on the existing conventions of abstract… each of his paintings acquired a compelling uniqueness. It is art to which you never become habituated". (Dr. Richard Shiff, A Compelling Uniqueness, Robert Mangold: Paintings, 1990-2002, exh. cat., Aspen Art Museum, 2003, p. 25). Column Structure XXII, a sequitur to his Column Structure paintings, is entirely committed to form, colour and structure, but its primary focus remains that of the concept of verticality. Each work in this series has a central vertical section that is subdivided by straight, horizontal soft lines and attached with squares or triangles fragments from the sides or near the top. Mangold’s work is often associated with the fragmented architecture of New York, where he lives and works. Commenting on the ambivalent vision of this city, Mangold states: "I see everything in fragments, in segments – a segment of a lorry, a segment of a building. In New York one doesn’t see the whole, but each fragment becomes a self-contained whole". (April-June 2007

    Mangold refers to the simplicity of the most basic formal elements to express complex ideas and challenge our preconceived notions of the boundaries and limitations of art. While Mangold’s work is often focused on aesthetic concerns, he also invites the viewer to scrutinize intensively by setting up visual challenges. Over the course of his career, he provoked the viewers to consider the idea of paintings without centres. As mentioned in the essay ‘Curves Elvolve’ by Dr. Shiff, this body of work tests the possibilities of a vertical format at large scale and alludes to the flatness of the canvas through the complex layered imagery. Shiff points out that "each column structure appears to begin and end arbitrarily at its outer edges. This effect stems not only from the wave-like repetition of the curving linear elements, but also from the fact Mangold allows the organizing grids to remain manifest as pencilled lines…Mangold’s grids are more than mere guidelines for his drawing linear figures; they become guides for the viewer as well, clues as to how the entire work is structured". (Dr. Richard Shiff, Robert Mangold: Column Structure Paintings exh. cat., PaceWildenstein, New York, March 2007,

    Column Structure XXII, is the result of Mangold’s extensive investigation using colours and forms in a very unexpected architectonical ways, fusing different shaped canvases to create new, formalist structure. As Robert Storr, Dean and Professor of Painting and Printmaking at Yale University School of Art, stated "Mangold’s genius is to perceive fresh opportunities where others anticipate repetition. Thus, with a few adjustments in basic constructs already known to him and to us, he has provided himself and his viewers with a whole new set of formal relationships." (Robert Storr, Squaring the Circle exh. cat., Pace Gallery, New York, April-May 2014,

    The impression of simplicity in Mangold’s oeuvre, which is conveyed by a sense that the painting commits itself entirely to its form, its colour and structure demonstrates a consistent immediacy to Minimalist art. Alongside Sol LeWitt, Robert Morris, Carl Andre and Donald Judd, the artist has developed a body of work in a manner reduced to the minimum. This radical, innovative approach to art was proved controversial from the outset when art critic Barbara Rose described the movement as "empty, repetitious, uninflected" in her groundbreaking article ‘ABC Art’, in 1965. The present lot, through its characteristic structural qualities, amalgamated with its architectural proportions, alludes to the innovative vocabulary of Minimalist art. By employing simple techniques, a monochrome colour and a geometric structure Column Structure XXII, is emblematic of Mangold’s career as well as a refined example of American Minimalist art. As the artist had declared early in his career "everyone was declaring painting to be dead...sculpture seemed to be a much more exciting area. All the bright people seemed to be heading toward some kind of three-dimensional or situational or environmental thing". Thus, starting from his mansonite or wood sectioned paintings in the early seventies and continuing to the Column Structure paintings, Mangold has demonstrated his mastery in achieving structural qualities in painting and thus creating an innovative, added dimensionality to his oeuvre.


Column Structure XXII A

acrylic and black pencil on canvas
228.6 x 182.9 cm (90 x 72 in.)
This work is numbered No. 47444.

£150,000 - 250,000 

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
[email protected]
+44 207 318 4063

Contemporary Evening Sale

London Auction 2 July 2014 7pm