Donald Judd (1928-1994)
Property of the Nancy Epstein Family, Los Angeles
Donald Judd (1928-1994)

Untitled 1973 (DSS 319)

Donald Judd (1928-1994)
Untitled 1973 (DSS 319)
stamped 'JUDD BERNSTEIN BROS INC. JO 12-7-73' (on the reverse)
10 1/8 x 72 x 26 in. (25.7 x 182.9 x 66 cm.)
Executed in 1973.
Leo Castelli Gallery, New York
Flow Ace Gallery, Los Angeles
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1983
D. Del Baso, B. Smith and R. Smith, Donald Judd: Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Objects and Wood-Blocks 1960-1974, Ottawa, 1975, p. 269, no. 319 (illustrated).
Venice, Flow Ace Gallery, Donald Judd, April-May 1974.

Lot Essay

"A shape, a volume, a color, a surface is something itself. It shouldn't be concealed as part of a fairly different world" (D. Judd, Complete Writings 1975-1986, Eindhoven, 1987, p. 7).

Untitled (DSS - 319) projects out from the wall, its bold, gleaming curved copper surface reflecting back its distorted worldview. This work retains an uninterrupted form's solidity, unlike some of Judd's other "progressions". This continuous façade's purity speaks to the very essence of Judd's art. He agreed with his friend Frank Stella who said, "What you see is what you see!" Judd's works command "visual authority", which he derives from combining form, material and color with extreme precision. Judd derived Untitled (DSS - 319)'s visual authority from its refined minimalist aesthetic. The work's sophisticated fabrication denies its physicality, as the work seems to hover close to the wall's surface with a delicacy that belies its volume.

Untitled (DSS - 319) was formerly part of Ms. Nancy Epstein's celebrated collection; it appealed to her highly developed sense of visual beauty and intellectual rigor. Ms. Epstein knew many of the artists in her collection personally. She was particularly drawn to works that broke with tradition and reflected their own time. Consequently, she collected works by many modern art pioneers, including Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Calder and Richard Diebenkorn (see lot 61).

Judd made the present work more organic, with its curvaceous form and unadulterated copper color. Freeing Untitled (DSS - 319) from the artificiality, notched form and synthetic colors of his other works in his Progression series, Judd presents us with his aesthetic in its purest form and focuses our attention not on the work's representational aspects, but on the form's relationship with the space around it.

"Judd always referred to his works as 'specific objects', as works of art that, for him, existed somewhere between painting and sculpture. He described them in these terms because they derive their representational qualities on the one hand from their physical volume and the space they occupy, and on the other hand from their material appearance, their surface qualities - internal and external - their coloration and the effect created under various lighting conditions. As a result of their deliberate artificiality - expressed through a combination of dimensions, materials and coloration - Judd's works keep a safe distance from the observer and allow no interpretation" (T. Deecke, MINIMAL MAXIMAL. Minimal Art and its influence on international art of the 1990s, Bremen, 1998, p. 145).

More from Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale

View All
View All