- Dan Flavin
- Untitled (to Madeline and Eric Kraft)
- red, ultraviolet, pink, and yellow fluorescent light
Acquired by the present owner from the above
Although the artist’s iconic designs are characterized by their formal qualities (geometric arrangements in limited colors) and therefore often associated with Minimalism, they transcend any particular historical moment. Indeed, Flavin’s discovery is so radical that the fluorescent lights seem to resist chronological or formal development, giving them a somewhat timeless character. As Tiffany Bell observed, “just as you cannot really delineate the material boundaries of a Flavin installation, you cannot pinpoint the precise moment of its making. The lights shine in a continuous present” (Exh. Cat., New York, Dia Art Foundation, Dan Flavin: A Retrospective, 2004, p. 127).
Despite his association with Minimal Art (Flavin was indeed close friends with Donald Judd, amongst others), the artist’s light works are in no way detached or devoid of meaning and emotion. Although their visual language is abstract, Flavin was very aware of the implications of his color choices, which were often highly suggestive. The icons of the early 1960s, in which the artist first introduced lights into his canvases, already demonstrated an explicitly associative content in their titles, referring to the artist’s Catholic upbringing. Throughout his career, Flavin would also regularly allude to writers such as James Joyce, whom he particularly admired. The present work, Untitled (to Madeline and Eric Kraft) is indeed an excellent example of this, as the title refers to the American author and his wife, who were friends of Flavin from Long Island.
In its alluring juxtaposition of red, ultraviolet, pink and yellow, the present work is indeed a timeless composition of one of the most influential Post-War American artists. Untitled (to Madeline and Eric Kraft) not only embodies Dan Flavin’s signature use of fluorescent light in an elegantly minimal design, but is here also presented in an exquisite combination of colors, making it an outstanding work of the artist’s compelling oeuvre.