Robert Mangold (b. 1937)
Robert Mangold (b. 1937)

Irregular Yellow Orange Area with a Drawn Ellipse

Robert Mangold (b. 1937)
Irregular Yellow Orange Area with a Drawn Ellipse
signed, titled and dated 'R. MANGOLD 1987 IRREGULAR YELLOW ORANGE AREA WITH A DRAWN ELLIPSE #2' (on the reverse)
acrylic and graphite on canvas
52 ¾ x 39 ¾in. (134 x 101cm.)
Executed in 1987
Galerie Meert Rihoux, Brussels.
Private Collection, Brussels.
Anon. sale, Christie's London, 9 February 2007, lot 257.
Private Collection, USA.
Private Collection, Madrid.
Anon. sale, Christie's Paris, 3 June, 2015, lot 37.
Simon Capstick-Dale Fine Arts, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Robert Mangold, exh. cat., Wiesbaden, Museum Wiesbaden, 1988 (illustrated in colour, 189).
Brussels, Galerie Meert Rihoux, Robert Mangold, 1988.
Maastricht, Bonnefantenmuseum, Robert Mangold: Recente werken / Recent works, 1990, p. 42 (illustrated in colour, p. 43).
Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Repetición/Transformación, 1992 (illustrated in colour, p. 93).

Lot Essay

Robert Mangold’s Irregular Yellow Orange Area with a Drawn Ellipse is a sophisticated example of the American artist’s Irregular Areas, a body of work produced between 1985 and 1987. A surprising trapezoid in gold juts to the right before plunging downwards in a dramatic dive. Contained within this angular form is Mangold’s signature motif, an elegant ellipse sketched against a backdrop of
sheer marks. Mangold applies his paints with a roller to avoid any tactility, believing that this makes a surface ‘less tangible’, and uses the act of drawing to reclaim and ‘reconfirm the surface as a fat plane’ (R. Mangold interviewed by S. Kaneda, Bomb, July 1, 2001). Investigating what he considers to be the fundamental components of painting, namely their fatness and the fact that they are defined by outer edges, Mangold’s work recalls that of Kazimir Malevich. Malevich’s use of asymmetrical shapes evoked the dynamism of three dimensions, allowing his paintings to exist in real, rather than painted space.
Inspired by architectural structures, Mangold’s work is aligned with Minimalism, and was included in the pioneering exhibition of Minimalist works, Primary Structures, held at the Jewish Museum, New York, in 1966. Bound together by the sublime plane, Irregular Yellow Orange Area with a Drawn Ellipse presents a sense of gestalt, in which the artwork is understood by its completeness; where the overall form has greater significance than any individual pattern. Writing in the context of that exhibition, his fellow Minimalist artist Robert Morris explained, ‘Simplicity of shape does not necessarily equate with simplicity of experience. Unitary forms do not reduce relationships’ (R. Morris, ‘Notes on Sculpture’, Artforum, February 1966). Irregular Yellow Orange Area with a Drawn Ellipse exists as an autonomous object in space, as both a provocation and confrontation with painting’s materiality.

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