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Robert Mangold (b. 1937)
Robert Mangold (b. 1937)
Robert Mangold (b. 1937)
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Robert Mangold (b. 1937)
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PROPERTY FROM THE MATTHYS-COLLE COLLECTION
Robert Mangold (b. 1937)

Triangle within a Circle

Details
Robert Mangold (b. 1937)
Triangle within a Circle
signed, titled and dated 'R. Mangold 1974 Triangle within a Circle' (on the reverse); signed and dated 'R. Mangold 1974' (on the stretcher)
acrylic and pencil on canvas
diameter: 72in. (182.9cm.)
Executed in 1974
Provenance
John Weber Gallery, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in November 1974.
Literature
A. van Grevenstein and S. Singer (eds.), Robert Mangold Schilderijen/ Paintings 1964-1982, exh. cat., Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, 1982, no. 207 (diagram illustrated, unpaged).
Exhibited
New York, John Weber Gallery, New Paintings, 1974.
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Fundamentele Schilderkunst = Fundamental Painting, 1975.
Deurle, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Verzameling Roger en Hilda Matthys-Colle, 2007, p. 141 (illustrated in colour, p. 90).

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Tessa Lord
Tessa Lord

Lot Essay

Executed in 1974, Robert Mangold’s Triangle within a Circle is a near-architectural apparition that stems from a pivotal moment in the artist’s career. Stretching nearly two metres in height, it demonstrates the new 72-inch format that Mangold adopted in 1972 for his square and circular canvases; a size close to human proportions, and one that has rarely been exceeded within his oeuvre. Within its smooth red acrylic surface, applied with a roller, the artist inscribes a faint pencil triangle, aligning the work with the series of nested geometric investigations that he began in the early 1970s. Having come to prominence during the previous decade at the vanguard of American Minimalism, Mangold took his first steps towards international recognition during this period. In 1971, he mounted his first solo museum exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, leading to a major show at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, in the year of the present work. By this stage, his reputation was such that he was invited to be interviewed by Rosalind Krauss for Artforum: a prestigious coup, crowned by the illustration of one of his works on the cover. Working away from the city in the peaceful solitude of the Catskill Mountains, Mangold carefully refined his artistic principles, seeking a sophisticated formal tension that emphasised the objecthood of the canvas itself. Acquired in New York in the year of its creation, the present work was exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, in 1975, and has been largely unseen in public since that time.

Throughout his career, Mangold repeatedly rejected the term ‘geometric abstraction’ as a thematic label for his work. His aesthetic goals, he claimed, had less in common with those of his Modernist forebears than with the Renaissance masters who first sought to depict spatial relations. This understanding of Mangold’s work gained traction during the mid-1970s, thanks in part to Josef Masheck’s article ‘A Humanist Geometry’ – published in the same issue of Artforum – which compared him to Piero della Francesca, Palladio, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci. Though seemingly heir to the rigorous analytics of artists such as Josef Albers and Piet Mondrian, Mangold’s works sidestepped the studied precision of their practices, embracing natural inconsistencies in line and form. ‘I think all of my works are about things fitting or not really fitting together’, he explained, ‘with the structural shape either dictating the terms of the interior structure or setting up a framework the interior structure plays off’ (R. Mangold, interview with R. White, View, Vol. 1 No. 1, December 1978, p. 16). By working in this heuristic manner, Mangold would ultimately come to challenge the notion of art as a window onto the world, drawing attention instead to the space that it occupied. The enhanced scale of the present work, in particular, blurs the distinction between the canvas and the supporting wall: a notion that would become increasingly important to his practice. ‘Figurative artists develop subject matter’, Robert Storr once observed; ‘abstract artists like Mangold develop “object matter”’ (R. Storr, ‘Betwixt and Between’, Robert Mangold, London 2000, p. 99).

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