Sol LeWitt - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Friday, March 4, 2022 | Phillips

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  • 'In my case, I used the elements of these simple forms- square, cube, line and colour to produce logical systems. Most of these systems were finite; that is, they were complete using all possible variations. This kept them simple.'
    —Sol LeWitt

    Born in 1928 in Connecticut, United States, Sol LeWitt was pivotal to the art scene of the 1960s and 70s. His ground-breaking exploration of Conceptual and Minimalist art was founded by the notion that the idea of art was just as important as the process of art-making itself. Intuition was thus a main driver in the complexity of his works. He expressed this ideology through mediums such as wall drawings, paintings, ‘structures’ (a term he preferred over ‘sculptures’), works on paper, printmaking, photography and installation. Using logical methodology, the artist broke away from the earlier movement of Abstract Expressionism and used repetitive directives in his practice through grids, lines, shapes and colour. This organised way of working enabled the thriving progression of a well-developed style and portfolio of works.

    'When artists make art, they shouldn’t question whether it is permissible to do one thing or another.' 
    —Sol LeWitt

    In the 1980s, Sol LeWitt travelled to Italy where he started working extensively with gouache to create experimental abstract works in contrasting colours. Horizontal Bands (More Or Less) (2002) pertains to this period, more specifically to the series of Squiggly Brushstrokes. Other series executed under this medium include Irregular Forms, Parallel Curves and Web-like Grids. The present work exemplifies the deliberate strokes, repetitive yet organic in nature, drawing in the viewer with its dark burgundy colour in contrast to the murky blue beneath. The pattern grants a sense of mesmerising trance encouraging a deeper contemplation of its meaning and existence. Although this style departs from LeWitt’s earlier works where geometrical structure dominated his former productions, Untitled remains very much embodies the artist’s intent of visceral interpretation.


    Sol LeWitt on Conceptuel art


    Collector’s Digest


    •    Sol LeWitt is best known for his large-scale wall drawings, making over 1,200 in his lifetime. His first retrospective was hosted at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1978 and later in 2000, at the San Francisco Museum of Modern art which also travelled to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and the Museum of Contemporary art in Chicago.


    •    LeWitt’s works are found in prominent museum collections including Tate Modern, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; and the Jewish Museum in Manhattan.


    •    The artist lived and worked between New York and Connecticut until the age of 78, passing in 2007. 

    • Provenance

      Galleria Gentili, Florence (acquired directly from the artist)
      Private Collection

    • Artist Biography

      Sol LeWitt

      American • 1928 - 2007

      Connected to the Conceptual and Minimalist art movements of the 1960s and '70s, the artist and theorist Sol LeWitt was a pivotal figure in driving 'idea' art into the mainstream art discourse. Redefining what constituted a work of art and its genesis, LeWitt explored these ideas through wall drawings, paintings, sculptures, works on paper and prints.

      Using a prescription to direct the creation of a work, the artist's hand subordinated to the artist's thoughts, in direct contrast to the Abstract Expressionist movement earlier in the century. Actions, forms and adjectives were broken down into terms, serially repeated and reconfigured: grids, lines, shapes, color, directions and starting points are several examples. These directives and constructs fueled an influential career of vast variety, subtlety and progression.

      View More Works


Horizontal Bands (More Or Less)

signed 'S. Lewitt' lower right; numbered '011544' on the reverse
gouache on paper
161.8 x 154 cm (63 3/4 x 60 5/8 in.)
Executed in 2002.

Full Cataloguing

£120,000 - 180,000 

Contact Specialist

Simon Tovey

Specialist, Associate Director, Head of Day Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art
+44 20 7318 4084

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 4 March 2022