Lot 62
  • 62

Sol Lewitt

500,000 - 700,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Sol Lewitt
  • Untitled (Modular Cube)
  • baked enamel on steel

  • 28 1/2 x 82 1/2 x 82 1/2 in. 72.4 x 209.6 x 209.6 cm.
  • Executed in 1967-68, this work is accompanied by a certificate signed by the artist.


Galerie Bischofberger, Zurich
Galerie Konrad Fischer, Düsseldorf
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 1975


Zurich, Galerie Bischofberger, Sol Lewitt, February - March 1968
The Hague, Haags Gemeentemuseum, Sol Lewitt, July - August 1970, fig. 190, p. 39, illustrated
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Conceptuele Kunst 1965-1975, April - June 2002, p. 161, illustrated (dated 1968)


Paul-Hervé Parsy, Art Minimal, Paris, 1992, p. 57, illustrated
Sophie Richard, International Network of Conceptual Artists, Anglia Ruskin University, 2006, p. 33

Catalogue Note

Untitled (Modular Cube) establishes Sol LeWitt as a fundamental contributor to the advent of Minimalism and Conceptualism. A simple man who deliberately positioned himself as an outsider, LeWitt's oeuvre presents a radical investigation into the boundaries of aesthetic experience. "LeWitt´s search for the building blocks of form, for the basic alphabet, vocabulary, and grammar of all structures, is one that has a deeply ingrained tradition in the history of modern art, from its late eighteenth-century beginnings, with the purist reforms of Neoclassic geometry, to the wealth of twentieth-century investigations of the rudiments of art.¨ (Robert Rosenblum, ¨Notes on Sol Lewitt,¨ Sol Lewitt, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1978, p. 16)   With the cube, LeWitt urges us to redefine the intrinsic properties of conventional categorizations such as architecture and sculpture. Once dismantled, these hierarchical constructions yield visual forms analogous to Robbe-Grillet's linguistic tautology: 'If art is going to be anything, then it has got to be everything.' According to this argument the significance of the square—and it's three dimensional equivalent, the cube—is the ultimate form of self-reflexiveness, "incessently pointing to itself as spatial perimeter, plane, surface and support." (Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, "Conceptual Art 1962-1969," October, 5 Winter, Cambridge Mass., p. 113-115)

Integral to the execution of Untitled (Modular Cube) is LeWitt's conceptual approach to artmaking. Beginning in 1965, LeWitt began to develop wall reliefs and structures with regular repeated open cubes. By the end of 1966, his cubic lattices commenced to be executed solely in the color white. Lewitt claimed that black was too "expressionistic," as it still possessed the tragic associations invested in it by the abstract expressionists. White in contrast, was the least expressive color he could imagine. James Meyer suggested that for LeWitt, the color white "was the equivalent of what grey was for Morris, or red for Judd—an apparently neutral hue that revealed the form." ( James Meyer, Minimalism, Art and Politics in the Sixties, New Haven and London, 2001, p. 200) According to LeWitt´s conceptual premise which he expressed the year he created this work: "all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand... the execution is a perfunctory affair.  It is the process of conceptualization and realization with which the artist is concerned." (Sol LeWitt, "Paragraphs on Conceptual Art," Artforum 5, no. 10, June 1967, p. 79-83)

Central to the conceptual system of Modular Cube is its sequential order. LeWitt´s investigations into a methodical progression of open and closed space, inside and outside oppositions, two and three dimensionality is particularly evident in Modular Cube and other works he specifically created in 1967/1968 for an exhibition at the Galerie Bischofberger in Zurich. The Bischofberger show in February-March 1968 followed a one-man exhibition at Galerie Konrad Fischer in Düsseldorf and was almost simultaneous to a LeWitt show at Galerie Heinrich Friedrich in Munich. These exhibitions were the artist's first in Europe and all consisted of modular cube works and pieces from Serial Project No. 1 (ABCD). Untitled (Modular Cube) is also clearly related to the earlier Serial Project No. 1 (ABCD), (1966-1967), one of LeWitt's landmark structures, which is made up of four nine-part pieces on a gridded base structure with the premise of placing one form within another and present every significant variation of open and closed within the two and three-dimensions.  This system frees the spectator to envision sequential patterns and possible variations of the visible and the unknown within a self-exhausting framework. Formally and conceptually, Untitled (Modular Cube) is likewise inseperable to LeWitt's A5 (1966), an earlier piece submitted to "10" , the groundbreaking group show held at the Dwan Gallery in October 1966. Including major works by Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Carl Andre, Robert Morris, Robert Smithson, Ad Reinhardt, Agnes Martin, Jo Baer and Michael Steiner the exhibition marked LeWitt's official recognition within the group of artists who advanced conceptual and minimalist artworks in America.