Donald Judd (1928-1994)
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more The Schulhof Collection
Donald Judd (1928-1994)

Untitled, 1987 (87-35 Bernstein)

Details
Donald Judd (1928-1994)
Untitled, 1987 (87-35 Bernstein)
stamped with signature, number and date 'JUDD JO BERNSTEIN BROS. 87 35' (on the reverse)
anodized aluminum
5 x 25½ x 8 in. (12.7 x 64.8 x 20.3 cm.)
Executed in 1987.
Provenance
Paula Cooper Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1988
Literature
P. Rylands, Hannalore B. and Rudolph B. Schulhof Collection, New York, 2011, p. 33 (illustrated in color).
Special notice

On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot.

Lot Essay

Filled with the crisp precision and eloquence that marked much of his oeuvre, Untitled is an example of one of Donald Judd's most successful and elegant works. Judd first conceived the curved, or bullnose, progression format of his work in 1964. The origins of this particular series can be found in an iron pipe that Judd had set into a red box two years earlier, where half-sections were cut into the pipe. The same principle is visible here in the form of a negative. Transformed into the idea of a progression, in which solid form and empty space alternate and interact according to a mathematical sequence extended along a horizontal plane, Judd transferred this simple spatial play into relief form.

Initially a painter, Judd felt constrained by the limitation of the canvas hung flush against the wall. Gradually, he retreated from this surface and out into the third-dimension. Although he continued to create works with the wall in mind, these by definition go beyond traditional genres. As he stated, "Low and high relief are basically painting, possessing the same problems, as well as some of their own" (D. Judd, quoted in N. Serota, (ed.), Donald Judd, exh. cat., Tate Gallery, London, 2004, p. 188). Projecting out from the flat plane of the wall, the curved forms of the surface of this 'progression' and the punctuated empty spaces between them articulate a three-dimensional spatial play the same way that a painting achieves an illusion. It was Judd's hope, first developed in this form of 'progression', and later in his 'stacks', that the articulation of the contrast between the flat plane of the wall and the relief by the work itself would, depending on its placement, invoke a wider understanding of the entire architecture of the space onto which it was set.

Derived from the simple repetitive geometry of a work like Brancusi's Endless Column, Judd's curved 'progression' materializes into a seemingly repetitive but in fact developmental and growing sequence using the simplest of means. The eloquent translation of this simple mathematical increase into unified material form lends the work a transcendent, futuristic and almost unworldly feel that is at odds with its manifest materiality and the overt simplicity of the work's structure.

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