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Crimson Lake with Black Summer

Crimson Lake with Black Summer
gouache on paper
63 x 47.5 cm. (24 3/4 x 18 3/4 in.)
Painted in 1958
Gimpel Fils Gallery, London, UK
Private collection, Europe

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Jessica Hsu
Jessica Hsu

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Lot Essay

Richard Lin was active in the art world during the 1950s and '60s. In 1964, he represented the UK at the 3rd Kassel Documenta, and in 1967 he participated in the 44th Carnegie International art exhibition, where he was honored with an award.

From 1954 to 1958, Lin studied architecture at the Regent Street Polytechnic in London, where he was influenced by Mies van der Rohe and le Corbusier. He began to stress elimination of all unnecessary ornamentation, employing simple, clear structures and visual presentations to convey complex meanings. In 1958, his first solo show was held at London's Gimpel Fils gallery.

Crimson Lake with Black Summer (Lot 047), Composition, Blue & Black (Lot 048), and Untitled (Lot 049) all date from 1958, documenting Lin's artistic direction in his experiments with cool abstraction during this important transitional period. Simple, clean geometric compositions with level, parallel structures and rational, balanced brushstrokes display the artist's pursuit of purity, rationality, and simplicity. Color palettes during this period often feature blue-green, reddish-purple, and yellow-green. Crimson Lake with Black Summer employs a rarely seen contrast between red and black tones, like a scorching lake of fire, and is reminiscent of a 1958 Mark Rothko’s work, Four Darks in Red. Lin's Composition, Blue & Black employs large blocks of black and vivid blue, while Untitled stresses thick applications of dark reddish-purple. Lin often named works after natural scenes or certain times, attempting to build a connection between nature and his geometric abstraction, and to convey, through their deep sense of time and space, a feeling for the Eastern conception of the universe. These factors presaged the further progression of Lin's geometric abstraction toward minimalism.

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