By 1988 repetition was a key feature in all aspects of Donald Judd’s work. The vertical stack sculptures first developed in 1965 were continually revisited in the subsequent decades as the artist developed the idea of his “specific objects”. In these works that Judd envisioned between the realms of sculpture and painting, color was considered together with space and material to be the distinguishing feature of art. In the present lot Untitled these three features are reduced to the most basic concepts: saturated ultramarine blue, empty paper and rectilinear shape, and work together to create Untitled as a hallmark Judd “specific object”.
Judd began working with the woodcut medium in the early 1950’s, before his development of the stack pieces and machine-made works in glass, wood and steel. In the early prints Judd developed a keen sense of shape and color, using the innate repetitive quality of the medium to continually reexamine seemingly basic forms. Structures found in his three-dimensional works appear in two dimensions: parallelograms, flat planes of color and most importantly, rectilinear form. The present lot, Untitled, as a complete set of ten woodcuts is a seminal work by the artist in its digression from these singular forms, to an elaborate interplay between positive and negative space with the printed image repeated in sequence.
“Color is like material. It is one way or another, but it obdurately exists. Its existence as it is, is the main fact and not what it might mean, which may be nothing…” (Donald Judd, Some Aspects of Color in General and Red and Black in Particular 1993)