Sol LeWitt - Evening & Day Editions London Thursday, June 6, 2024 | Phillips
  • Using the cube as a “grammatical device”, Sol LeWitt’s Open Cube in Color on Color of 2003 distils colour into essential forms characterised by serialisation, repetition and progression. The work comprises thirty iterations of an open cube contained within a distinct square, defined only by its variations of colour. LeWitt was an early proponent of Conceptual and Minimalist art, valuing the idea of conceptual, logical formulation, as opposed to the art-object itself and subjective creation. We find this in Open Cube in Color on Color, as the methodically repeated cubes draw focus to the intensity of the process from which they were produced rather than the creative liberties of the artist. As LeWitt himself put it: “the serial artist does not attempt to produce a beautiful or mysterious object but functions merely as a clerk cataloguing the results of the premise.”

    “When an artist uses a conceptual form of art it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand, and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.”
    —Sol LeWitt

    LeWitt’s descriptive yet simple titles are a hallmark of his work. Deceptively, however, the inherent complexity of LeWitt’s works belie the succinct terminology used to define it. The titles become hypnotically redundant abstractions; their gnomic weight adding to the conceptualisation of basic forms in complex formulations. LeWitt believed that one can never be totally free of subjective judgement; instead his interest lay in the extent to which this judgement – or the role of the artist in the creation of art – can be codified, systematised and articulated. He believed that ideas should be transcribed, not interpreted; he who interprets falls into Expressionism. In this way, LeWitt’s works are a radical departure from what it means to express the creative self, reducing himself from the grand status of artist absorbed by aesthetics to the practitioner executing ideas. Lewitt believed that “even a blind man can be an artist”, as it is the idea that designs the work; the act of creating an artwork is nothing more than a visualisation of the idea. Nevertheless, Open Cube in Color on Color is an extraordinary example of LeWitt’s masterful balance of colour and form. While posing a profound assault on accepted notions of artistic compositions, his work effortlessly succeeds in stimulating not only the eye but also the mind.

    • Literature

      Barbara Krakow Gallery 2003.04

    • 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.

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Open Cube in Color on Color (K. 2003.04)

The complete set of 30 linocuts in colours, on Somerset paper, the full sheets loose (as issued), with the colophon and index.
all I. 28 x 28 cm (11 x 11 in.)
all S. 35.6 x 35.6 cm (14 x 14 in.)

Signed and numbered 'AP 9/10' in pencil on the colophon (an artist's proof set, the edition was 30 in Roman numerals), published by Arte y Naturaleza, Madrid, lacking the original black linen-covered portfolio, all unframed.

Full Cataloguing

£20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for £27,940

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 6 - 7 June 2024