- Martin Puryear
- poplar and painted pine
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 1986
As a young artist Puryear approached the making of art by addressing the most primal components of sculptural production, those of material and method. His favored material was wood, resistant and sturdy, yet more compliant than stone or metal. By the mid-1960s Puryear had learned joinery in Africa and fine woodworking in Sweden under the tutelage of a master ébéniste. However, despite his proficiency in joinery, his finest work, present example included, eschews overt technical prowess in favor of simplicity of conception and overall design. As a graduate student at Yale the Minimalist artists exerted a great deal of influence over Puryear and in the 1970s he began to create wall-mounted sculptures, known as the Ring series, and numbering some thirty works. Emblems of various degrees of enclosing, these works have long been considered amongst the artist’s finest achievements. However, for Puryear, they also represented the problems of a serial format with attendant concerns of potential repetition. Untitled can be viewed as a solution posited by Puryear to the problems inherent in serial production and a mature elucidation of the symbiotic relationship between minimalist logic and traditional craft as espoused by his finest works. It is an outstanding example of the artist’s evocative exploration of abstract form and of his work’s unerring ability to enigmatically retain vestigial elements of utility from everyday objects found in the world.