21
21
Dan Flavin
UNTITLED (TO HENRI MATISSE)
Estimate
800,0001,200,000
LOT SOLD. 1,145,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
21
Dan Flavin
UNTITLED (TO HENRI MATISSE)
Estimate
800,0001,200,000
LOT SOLD. 1,145,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
New York

Dan Flavin
1933 - 1996
UNTITLED (TO HENRI MATISSE)
pink, yellow, blue and green fluorescent light
height: 96 in. 243.8 cm.
Executed in 1964, this work is number three from an edition of three and is accompanied by a certificate signed by the artist.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Heiner Friedrich, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above

Exhibited

New York, Guggenheim Museum Soho, Dan Flavin, September 1995 - January 1996 (ed. no. 2/3)
London, Serpentine Gallery, Dan Flavin, August - September 2001, p. 14, illustrated in color (ed. no. 3/3, the present work)
Washington D.C., National Gallery of Art; Fort Worth, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art; London, The Hayward Gallery; Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Munich, Pinakothek der Moderne; Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Dan Flavin: A Retrospective, October 2004 - August 2007,fig. 49, p. 63, illustrated in color (ed. no. 3/3, the present work) and p. 59 (text)

Literature

Gregory Battcock, "The Politics of Space," Arts Magazine 44, no. 4, February 1970, illustrated in color on the cover and p. 2, illustrated (ed. no. unknown)
Guido Ballo, "Un grand collectionneur européen d'art américain: Giuseppe Panza," XXe Siècle 35, no. 41, December 1973, p. 125, illustrated (ed. no. 2/3, installation view at the Panza residence)
Germano Celant, Das Bild einer Geschichte 1956 -1976: Die Sammlung Panza di Biumo, Milan, 1980, p. 35, illustrated (ed. no. 2/3, installation view at the Panza residence) and p. 100, illustrated
Art of the Sixties and Seventies: the Panza Collection, New York, 1987, p. 174, illustrated (ed. no. 2/3)
Exh. Cat., Madrid, Fundación Para el Apoyo de la Cultura, Arte Minimal de la Collección Panza, 1988, p. 41, illustrated (ed. no. 2/3, with incorrect color order)
Exh. Cat., Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Un Choix d'Art Minimal dans la Collection Panza, 1990, p. 56, illustrated in color (ed. no. 2/3)
Marianne Stockebrand, "Pink, Yellow, Blue, Green and Other Colors in the Work of Dan Flavin," Chinati Foundation Newsletter, No. 2, 1996, p. 4 (text)
Exh. Cat., Berlin, Deutsche Guggenheim, Dan Flavin: the Architecture of Light, 1999, pp. 48-49, illustrated in color (ed. no. 2/3, detail)
Michael Govan and Tiffany Bell, Dan Flavin: the Complete Lights, 1961-1996, New Haven and London, 2004, cat. no. 40, p. 228, illustrated in color and artist's diagram, illustrated in color
Exh. Cat., Varese, Villa Panza, Dan Flavin: Rooms of Light. Works of the Panza Collection from Villa Panza, Varese and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2004, cat. no. 2, n.p., illustrated in color (ed. no. 2/3)
Michael Govan, "Dan Flavin's Architecture of Light," Guggenheim Magazine, New York, Winter 2004, p. 23, illustrated in color (ed. no. 2/3)
Blake Gopnik, "And We're Moths," Washington Post, October 3, 2004, pp. N1 and N4 (ed. no. unknown)
Maura Judkis, "Dan Flavin: A Retrospective," GW Hatchett, October 7, 2004 (ed. no. unknown)
Joanna Shaw-Eagle, "Flavin's Delight of Color," Washington Times, October 9, 2004 (ed. no. unknown)
Marcia E. Vetrocq, "Dan Flavin: Singing the Art Electric," Art in America, January 2005, p. 83, illustrated in color (ed. no. unknown)
William Turner, "Dan Flavin: A Retrospective, An Interview with LACMA's Michael Govan," Venice Magazine, June 2007 (text)
R. J. Smith, "Remain in the Light: LACMA's Dan Flavin retrospective positively glows," Los Angeles Magazine, July 2007 (ed. no. unknown)
Claudine Humblet, L'Art Minimal or une aventure structurelle aux multiples visages, Milan, 2008, p. 210, illustrated in color (ed. no. 2/3)
Exh. Cat., Vienna, MUMOK (Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien) and travelling, Dan Flavin: Lights, 2012-2013, p. 113, illustrated in color (exhibition copy)

Catalogue Note

The moment Dan Flavin liberated his artistic practice from the confines of tradition by radically mounting a single fluorescent light on the wall in the Diagonal of May 25, 1963, he experienced the ‘ecstasy’ of artistic breakthrough. His work was henceforth transformed, having assumed an inherent commitment to the striking simplicity and the powerful potential of an isolated light source.  Executed only a year later, Untitled (to Henri Matisse)of 1964 is a vertical arrangement of pink, yellow, blue and green fluorescent lights that imbues the surrounding space with the breathtaking atmospheric beauty of Matisse’s Mediterranean palette. Of exceptional prominence and significance as one of the earliest mature articulations of the artist’s celebrated format, the present work was included in two illustrious exhibitions including the travelling retrospective that began at the National Gallery of Art, in Washington D. C. in 2004. Another example of the edition has also been widely exhibited since the early 1970s as a prized work in the renowned Panza Collection of Minimalist art that is now part of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Collection in New York.

A prime archetypal example of Flavin's unique artistic language, Untitled (to Henri Matisse) concisely communicates the complexity of readymade art. The artist only uses commercial, readily available fluorescent lights which come with limited formats, a finite palette and a pre-determined parameter of brightness; as in true Minimalist fashion, the presence of the artist’s hand is erased.  Yet reductive limitation in his materials constitutes precisely the source of Flavin’s creativity. Colors, for example, behave very differently in fluorescent lighting as opposed to a painted pigment surface. In his essay for the 2005 retrospective of Flavin’s work, Michael Govan wrote in regard to the present work, “in light, green is not only a primary color, but the addition of more colors produces white, whereas the result in paint would be black. Flavin’s 1964 light dedicated to the great modern colorist, Henri Matisse, consists of Flavin’s ‘primary colors’ of pink, yellow, blue and green in 8-foot tubes close together in one vertical four-bulb fixture. It presents bright pastel colors directly to the viewer, but ….the Matisse work creates an overall white light made by the four colors blending nearly into a full spectrum.” (Exh. Cat., Washington, D. C., National Gallery of Art (and travelling), Dan Flavin: A Retrospective, 2005, p. 59) In other words, Flavin’s creative process lies not only in arranging lamps of varying lengths and colors within a given space, but also in engineering the optical chromatic appearance of his sculptures, thus enhancing the work’s status as art.

Furthermore, the precisely arranged industrial standard lamps challenge their physical object status by emitting an unbounded, splendid luminosity. Fittingly, both the space the work occupies and its beholder are inescapably encompassed and transformed. From the Renaissance painter’s depictions of Christ and his acolytes to the Impressionists’ haystacks and lily ponds, the evolving depiction of light has always been central to Western art history. Rather than recording an object’s reactions to natural light like the Impressionists, Flavin creates works using light itself: a cool, purified yet dramatic industrial urban glow, unconcerned with the vagaries of natural light. Perhaps Flavin’s project is closer to that of the Abstract Expressionists than most would think: similar to Mark Rothko’s “color field” or Barnett Newman’s “zip” that creates the illusion of light, Flavin’s work is a literal three-dimensional exposition of light itself – at once ineffable and concrete.

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
New York