Masterpieces of Minimalism from a Distinguished American Collection


In the mid-1960s a handful of painters and sculptors challenged the conventional and traditional notions of easel scale painting and pedestal based sculpture. These artists, using many of the more avant-garde ideas and precedents rooted in European modernism, emerged onto the American art scene of the 1960s and 1970s. At that time, the art world was dominated primarily by a mature Abstract Expressionist school, including Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, as well as the burgeoning Pop art movement immortalized by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Claes Oldenburg. Pop art pointed toward one radical new direction for American art and the arrival of artists such as Ellsworth Kelly, Richard Tuttle, Carl Andre, Donald Judd and Dan Flavin would establish another. 


The reductive painting of Mark Rothko, Agnes Martin, and Ad Reinhardt had set the stage for a radical shift in painting based on geometry, monochromatic forms and pure impasto-free surfaces. In similar fashion, the roughly assembled sculptures of found metal and automotive body parts of John Chamberlain, and the soft and hard appropriated sculptures of Claes Oldenburg cleared the way for sculptures constructed of industrial ready-mades and other unconventional three-dimensional materials. Kelly, Tuttle, Andre, Judd, and Flavin would become the new avant-garde and are now recognized as giants of what would eventually be called the Minimalist art movement. The six works represented in this collection are all nascent examples of the paintings and sculptures that would mark the birth of the movement as well as each artist’s respective oeuvres. They are immediately precocious and original, revealing the level of true genius that each artist attained and would ultimately sustain for more than forty years.

Property from this collection will be offered in the following auction: