DONALD JUDD (1928-1994)
DONALD JUDD (1928-1994)
DONALD JUDD (1928-1994)
DONALD JUDD (1928-1994)
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DONALD JUDD (1928-1994)


DONALD JUDD (1928-1994)
blue lacquer on galvanized iron
5 x 69 x 9in. (12.7 x 175.3 x 22.9cm.)
Executed in 1967
Leo Castelli Gallery, New York.
Galerie Rudolf Zwirner, Cologne (acquired from the above in 1975).
Sammlung Schniewind, Dusseldorf.
Galerie Adolf von Ribbentrop, Eltville.
Private Collection, Europe (acquired from the above in 1995).
Anon. sale, Christie’s New York, 11 May 2004, lot 43.
Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco.
June Lee Contemporary Art, Inc., Corona del Mar (acquired from the above in 2007).
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
D. Del Balso, B. Smith and R. Smith (eds.), Donald Judd: Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Objects, and Wood-Blocks 1960-1974, Ottawa 1975, no. 107 (illustrated, p. 153).
Karlsruhe, Badisches Landesmuseum, Donald Judd, 1994.
Odense, Kunsthallen Brandts Klaedefabrik, Donald Judd: Skulpturer, Grafik, Mobler, 1995.
Hanover, Sprengel Museum, Donald Judd. Colorist, 2000, pp. 21-22 and 125, no. 3 (illustrated in colour, p. 29). This exhibition later travelled to Bregenz, Kunsthaus Bregenz.
Houston, The Menil Collection, Donald Judd. The Early Work 1955-1968, 2003, p. 156, no. 143 (illustrated in colour, pp. 142-143).
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. Christie's has provided a minimum price guarantee and has a direct financial interest in this lot. Christie's has financed all or a part of such interest through a third party. Such third parties generally benefit financially if a guaranteed lot is sold. See the Important Notices in the Conditions of Sale for more information.

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Claudia Schürch
Claudia Schürch Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Created in 1967, the present work is a scintillating early example of Donald Judd’s ‘progression’ series. It has been included in significant institutional exhibitions at the Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe (1994), the Kunsthallen Brandts Klædefabrik, Odense (1995), the Sprengel Museum, Hanover (2000) and the Menil Collection, Houston (2003). Wall-mounted and near-architectural in impact, the horizontal sculpture is notched into ten rectilinear sections. These volumes widen progressively in half-inch increments, while the nine voids between them follow the same sequence in reverse. For Judd, such serial formulas minimised subjective decision-making in the creative process. This work’s precise, seamless form and non-painterly colour—it is made of galvanised iron, which sparkles through an even coat of peacock-blue lacquer—likewise elide any trace of the artist’s hand. A fierce idealist, Judd sought to create what he called ‘specific objects’. Departing from the illusionistic, expressive traditions of sculpture and painting, these works were autonomous presences to be experienced in real space and time.

Judd created his first ‘progression’ work in wood in 1964. He began his collaboration with the Brooklyn sheet-metal factory Bernstein Brothers, who fabricated the present work, in the same year. The partnership allowed Judd to produce metal ‘progressions’ and other series in a range of colours and forms. He explored vivid automotive pigments and enamelled, galvanised and anodised coatings. Unadorned brass, steel and copper were equally valued for their inherent chromatic qualities. Like his use of modular sequences, these industrial materials furthered Judd’s decisive break with art-historical custom. They also shifted his art’s production from the studio to the world of modern manufacturing. Judd’s sensitivity to texture and colour, however, belies the view of cold rationality often associated with Minimalist art. ‘Giorgione’s and Titian’s deep blue and orange brown is vast and inescapable,’ he said (D. Judd, ‘Some Aspects of Colour in General and Red and Black in Particular’, Artforum, Summer 1994, p. 77).

Judd used a range of formulas to compose his ‘progressions’, variously involving doubling, division and addition. He did not employ these mathematical givens to make any statement about the nature of the world. Rather, they were structures that could be apprehended intuitively by the viewer in space. ‘You don’t walk up to it and understand how it is working,’ he said, ‘but I think you do understand that there is a scheme there … The progressions made it possible to use an asymmetrical arrangement, yet to have some sort of order involved in composition’ (D. Judd quoted in ‘Don Judd: An Interview with John Coplans’, Donald Judd, exh. cat. Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena 1971, p. 40). The present sculpture exemplifies the compelling presence—free of narrative or reference—that Judd could achieve in his language of material, space and colour.

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