SOL LEWITT (1928-2007)
This lot will be removed to our storage facility a… Read more FORM, SPACE AND MATERIAL: MINIMALIST MASTERS IN DIALOGUE
SOL LEWITT (1928-2007)


SOL LEWITT (1928-2007)
painted aluminium
31 3/8 x 44 1/8 x 22 3/8in. (80 x 112 x 56.8cm.)
Executed in 1984, this work is unique
Annemarie Verna Gallery, Zurich.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1987.
Special notice
This lot will be removed to our storage facility at Momart. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at and our fees for storage are set out in the table below - these will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Momart. All collections from Momart will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
Further details
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

Brought to you by

Anna Touzin
Anna Touzin Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Christie’s is delighted to present five works from an esteemed private collection: Form, Space and Material: Minimalist Masters in Dialogue. Bringing together four floor sculptures and one wall hanging, the group sparks a conversation between some of Minimalism’s leading innovators, highlighting their shared emphasis on form, space and material. Rising to prominence in the 1960s and ’70s, these artists sought to challenge the gestural action painting of Abstract Expressionism, proposing a new art form which foregrounded the physical properties of the object. Taking pre-fabricated materials as their starting point—enabling them to eradicate any signs of authorship—the Minimalists created pared-down, self-referential objects that engaged with their surroundings. Credited with kick-starting the movement with his Black Paintings in 1959, Frank Stella famously stated ‘What you see is what you see’, a mantra which underscores the present group of important works by Donald Judd, Robert Morris, Richard Long, Richard Artschwager and Sol LeWitt (F. Stella, quoted in W.S. Rubin, Frank Stella, New York 1970, pp. 41-42).

Executed in 1979, and acquired by the present owner in 1986, Donald Judd’s Untitled is a striking example of the hollow rectilinear forms that lie at the core of the artist’s oeuvre. Arguably the movement’s most renowned exponent, Judd devoted his practice to investigating real space through simple, unified shapes, a mission he outlined in his seminal essay ‘Specific Objects’ (1965), in which he stated ‘The thing as a whole, its quality as a whole, is what is interesting ... the main things are alone and are more intense, clear and powerful’ (D. Judd, ‘Specific Objects,’ in C. Harrision et. al. (eds.), Art in Theory, 1900-1990, Oxford 1993, pp. 827-828). In Untitled, Judd presents us with a freestanding plywood box, a form which he has divided into two same-sized segments, one of which he has painted in his signature cadmium red. Measuring a metre in length, the work interrogates the viewer’s space, welcoming us into its deep, hollow chambers. When viewed from above, we are drawn immediately to the magnificent passage of red woodwork, a feature which recalls the chromatic Colour Field canvases of Mark Rothko. In its employment of found material, its skilful interrogation of space, and its alluring use of colour—features which formed the crux of the artist’s visual vocabulary—Untitled is a magnificent example of the holistic sculptural objects that came to define Judd’s practice. Unveiled at Lisson Gallery, London, in 1979, the work has been featured in significant institutional exhibitions, most notably at the Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven in 1979, and the Art Museum of the Ateneum, Helsinki between 1983-1984.

Measuring over two metres in height, Untitled (Brown Felt Piece) (1983-1984) is a monumental example of Robert Morris’s performative wall sculptures. Employing industrial felt as a sculptural medium throughout his practice, Morris was keen to capitalise on the flexible and malleable quality of this found material. In Untitled (Brown Felt Piece), Morris presents us with two identical pieces of dark brown felt nailed to the wall, their thick, heavy fabric drooping unceremoniously to the floor. Emphasising the pull of gravity, the work possesses a distinct anthropomorphic character, its sagging forms bearing the quality of human flesh. ‘Felt has anatomical associations; it relates to the body—it's skinlike’, Morris stated in an interview with Phil Patton in 1983. ‘The way it takes form, with gravity, stress, balance, and the kinesthetic sense, I liked all that’ (R. Morris, quoted in N. Tsouti-Schillinger (ed.), Robert Morris: Have I Reasons: Work and Writings, 1993-2007, New York 2008, pp. 7-8). Reflecting his notion of ‘Antiform’, a term the artist coined to describe artworks which lay bare the process of their own making, Untitled (Brown Felt Piece) and other felt works place a unique emphasis on texture. In its employment of Morris' signature non-traditional material, its distinct bodily presence, and its ability to liberate form through chance, Untitled (Brown Felt Piece) is an exquisite example of his work.

A monumental example of his renowned circular works, Green Quartz Circle (1990) exemplifies the two key objectives at the heart of Richard Long’s practice: to create a dialogue with nature and a harmonious marriage of material and form. Here, the artist presents a group of irregular-sized, glistening green quartz stones which, under his instalment instructions, have been arranged haphazardly in the shape of a circle. Balancing the individual, jagged stones with the overall resolved composition, the work evokes an inherent tension between man and nature, highlighting Long’s endeavour to contain the uncontrollable chaos of the natural world. Taking locally-sourced, natural materials as his starting point, a process he first famously explored in his A Line Made by Walking (1967), Long’s practice takes the ethos of Minimalism into the realm of Land Art. Indeed, this marriage of two movements found its greatest ally in the shape of the circle, a form which the artist considers to appeal to all of humanity. ‘I think the fact that they are images that do not belong to me and, in fact, are shared by everyone because they have existed throughout history, actually makes them more powerful than if I was inventing my own idiosyncratic, particular Richard Long-type images’ (R. Long, quoted in Richard Long: Walking in Circles, New York 1991, p. 250). Acquired in 1991, just one year after its execution, Green Quartz Circle is a compelling example of his profound dialogue with the natural world.

Since the early 1950s, Richard Artschwager has used his practice to explore the visual comprehension of space, taking the everyday objects which occupy it and rendering them strangely unfamiliar. In Hair Crate (Frosted) (1995), Artschwager presents us with a plywood crate which he has covered entirely in grey, rubberised horsehair. Since their first exhibition at Leo Castelli, New York in 1965, a show which propelled the artist to international acclaim, Artschwager’s shipping crates have evoked a sense of unease amongst their viewer—their hollow forms alluding to, but failing to disclose, a mysterious content inside them. By taking the commonplace object of the crate and covering it in rubberised horsehair, a material typically found in the upholstery hidden underneath a sofa, the present work explores the tactility of visual experience, presenting us with a form which is at once familiar and uncanny. ‘In art, as in life,’ Artschwager has said, ‘there are things to look at; some are trying to attract our attention harder than others, but this is always changing’ (R. Artschwager, quoted in D. Schwartz (ed.), Richard Artschwager: Texts and Interviews, Dusseldorf 2003, p. 37). Hair Crate (Frosted) demands our attention, interrogating our space and leaves us spellbound by its ambiguity.

Executed in 1984, and acquired by the present owner in 1987, Kubus is an impressive example of Sol LeWitt’s series of modular structures—a term he coined in favour of 'sculptures'—based on the cubic form. The artist became renowned for his freestanding geometric units, evolving from his early ambition to create non-illusionistic artworks that were self-evident in form. In 1966, he showcased a nine-unit modular cube in the landmark Primary Structures exhibition at the Jewish Museum, New York: a show which marked his major institutional debut, and led him to be hailed as one of Minimalism's founders. In Kubus, LeWitt presents a solid white aluminium cube, reconfigured into the shape of a hexagon. The artist demonstrates the possibilities for multiplication inherent within the cube format, highlighting the seemingly unlimited vocabulary at his disposal. ‘The most interesting characteristic of the cube is that it is relatively uninteresting', LeWitt has said. 'Compared to any other three-dimensional form, the cube lacks any aggressive force, implies no motion, and is least emotive. Therefore it is the best form to use as a basic unit for any more elaborate function, the grammatical device from which the work may proceed’ (S. LeWitt, quoted in Sol LeWitt, The Museum of Modern Art, New York 1978, p. 172).

More from Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale

View All
View All