DONALD JUDD (1928-1994)
DONALD JUDD (1928-1994)
DONALD JUDD (1928-1994)
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DONALD JUDD (1928-1994)
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This lot has been imported from outside of the UK … Read more PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE SWISS COLLECTOR
DONALD JUDD (1928-1994)

Untitled

Details
DONALD JUDD (1928-1994)
Untitled
stamped 'DONALD JUDD 89-49 LASCAUX MATERIALS LTD. BROOKLYN, N.Y.' (on the reverse)
painted aluminium
11 3/4 x 47 1/4 x 11 3/4in. (30 x 120 x 30cm.)
Executed in 1989
Provenance
Judd Foundation.
Pace Wildenstein Gallery, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1999.
Literature
M. Stockebrand, Donald Judd: The Multicoloured Works, New Haven 2014, p. 241 (illustrated in colour).
Exhibited
Osaka, Gallery Yamaguchi, Donald Judd, 1992, p. 45, no. 11 (illustrated in colour). This exhibition later travelled to Shizuoka, Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art.
New York, Pace Wildenstein Gallery, Donald Judd, Late Works, 2000, p. 34 (illustrated in colour, p. 35).
Special notice

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.

Brought to you by

Tessa Lord
Tessa Lord Interim Acting Head of Department

Lot Essay

A captivating presence in vivid blue and black, Untitled (1989) is a superb example of the wall-mounted, multicoloured aluminium works Donald Judd created between 1984 and 1989. These works—made possible by Judd’s discovery, in 1984, of an industrial process developed by the Swiss furniture maker Lehni—saw enamel pigment fused onto aluminium in a way that greatly expanded his freedom with colour, and, in combination with his investigations of material and space, allowed his Minimalist practice to unfold in a multidimensional new direction. The present example is 120 centimetres across and 30 centimetres in height and width. It is constructed of open-frame aluminium boxes, their planes bent precisely at right angles and screwed together—the silver screws are left visible—to form a symmetrical, horizontally oriented structure with an opening running along its interior length. The quadrant of boxes that forms its front face, and those that are fixed to the wall, are a rich cobalt blue: the boxes that join these sections together are black. The work is visually accessible from the top, the side, or the bottom, and its spatial interplay of solids and voids is heightened by the contrasting colours. It is positioned at slightly below eye level—140 centimetres from the floor—so that part of the top can be seen: when viewed from the front, the black gulf behind the blue boxes projects them forward as if they are hovering in space. When standing at one end of the object, the viewer can peer through a long, square-sectioned channel of blue and black shadow, uncovering new optical intrigues at every angle.

‘Half or more of the best new work in the last few years’, Judd declared in 1965, ‘has been neither painting nor sculpture. Usually it has been related, closely or distantly, to one or the other … The use of three dimensions is an obvious alternative. It opens to anything … Actual space is intrinsically more powerful and specific than paint on a flat surface’ (D. Judd, ‘Specific Objects’, Arts Yearbook 8, 1965). Taking industrial metals, plastics and wood as his media, and working within an austere formal vocabulary of boxes and modular stacks—either wall-mounted, or standing on the floor—he continued to employ ‘actual space’ in a variety of orientations, scales and volumes over the following three decades. From 1984 onwards, colour would also play an increasingly important role. Using the process he had discovered through Lehni, Judd could fuse enamel pigment onto the aluminium in an even, non-painterly application that resulted in a slightly matte finish, neither capturing nor reflecting too much light. The pigments could be chosen from a standardised industrial colour chart known as the RAL that offered around 180 hues, vastly increasing the diversity of Judd’s palette.

In his initial multicoloured works—they were manufactured by Lehni between 1984 and 1985, and by Lascaux of Brooklyn, New York, from late 1988 onwards—Judd assembled complex, contrasting combinations of colour, ensuring that no adjacent units were the same shade. By the late 1980s, he had started to concentrate on a smaller number of colours, allowing them to extend across multiple elements or—as in the present work—to cover the entire frontal plane of a wall-mounted object in intense monochrome. Throughout the series he avoided symbolically loaded colour-groupings, allusions to art-historical forebears or echoes of his own earlier practice, striving always for a new and autonomous presence. ‘In the sheet-aluminium works I wanted to use more and diverse bright colours than before’, he said. ‘… I didn’t want them to combine. I wanted a multiplicity all at once that I had not known before’ (D. Judd, ‘Some Aspects of Colour in General and Red and Black in Particular’, Artforum, Summer 1994, p. 113). Distilled to a dynamic concord of blue and black, the present work exemplifies the compelling magic—free of narrative or illusion—that Judd could achieve in his language of material, space and colour.
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