Lot 38
  • 38

Donald Judd

800,000 - 1,200,000 USD
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  • Donald Judd
  • Untitled 
  • stamped DONALD JUDD 89-96 LASCAUX MATERIALS LTD. BROOKLYN, N.Y. on the reverse 
  • painted aluminum  
  • 12 by 12 by 71 in. 30.5 by 30.5 by 180.3 cm.
  • Executed in 1989.


Galerie Nächst St. Stephan, Vienna 
Private Collection, California 
Greenberg Van Doren Gallery, St. Louis 
Acquired by the present owner from the above


Saint Louis Art Museum, Minimal Art from St. Louis Collections, August 2005 - July 2006
St. Louis, The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, Donald Judd: The Multicolored Works, May 2013 - January 2014, p. 22, illustrated


Marianne Stockebrand, ed., Donald Judd: The Multicolored Works, New Haven and London, 2014, p. 254, illustrated in color (in installation at The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, 2013-2014)


This sculpture is in excellent condition. Please contact the Contemporary Art Department at +1 (212) 606-7254 for the report prepared by Jackie Wilson of Wilson Conservation, LLC.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Produced five years before his untimely death, Donald Judd’s Untitled is undoubtedly one of the most elegant multicolored paradigms created by the single most significant practitioner of minimalism. Executed in 1989, the present work is a masterful reprisal of Judd’s early painterly techniques in one of his most celebrated series – ‘multicolored works’ – spanning from 1984 to 1991, this late series possesses a more confident and accessible simplicity via its freer invention of color. Untitled flawlessly showcases this new departure in multicolored works and the achievement of Judd’s long-term objective of fusing two-dimensional painting with three-dimensional object: “I believe you can take two things into different contexts,” Judd said, “where you don’t have the flat canvas against the wall and something else with it.” (Paul Taylor, “Interview with Donald Judd,” Flash Art International 134, May 1987, p. 37) Asserting its materiality and conceptual rigor, Untitled evinces a chromatic resonance in its lustrous surface and striking primary palette that not only engages with its relationship to the wall but creates the tantalizing possibility of transforming it and even extending beyond. Having not used more than two different colors in any of his works from 1960-1984, the bold combination of blood orange, saffron yellow, strawberry red and turquoise blue in Untitled is indicative of Judd’s insatiable appetite for vibrant hues articulating the material surface in the final decade of his life. Nearly thirty years before the creation of Untitled, color and the variation of the value of color was Judd’s central fascination while painting on two-dimensional surfaces. It was during this period, in the 1960s, where Judd began to rupture the surface of his paintings to give them actual depth, eventually creating volumetric objects that occupied space. The multicolored works represent a poignant homecoming to painting for Judd, who had set aside his brush some twenty years earlier in shifting from planar to spatial creations. The sharp hues blended pristinely into the glistening sheets of aluminum in Untitled, representing the zenith of a burgeoning color palette as Judd introduced “more diverse bright colors than before” in his later years. (Marianne Stockebrand, Donald Judd: The Multicolored Works, New Haven, 2014, p. 31)

The discrete visual vocabulary of Untitled is a precise articulation of ‘Specific Objects,’ Judd’s radical 1965 essay that conceptualized the construction of three-dimensional forms and materials, culminating with his rumination on color in his final essay published only months before his death. In reflecting on Untitled in his treatise on color, Judd argued that “Space is now a main aspect of present art, comparable only to color as a force.” (Donald Judd, Some Aspects of Color in General and Red and Black in Particular, 1993, p. 2) The organization of bright, contrasting colors in Untitled illuminates the artist’s fastidious process of combining colors, whereby cut out colored samples were arranged over and over until the object was unified and balanced as a singular principle. The inclusion of Untitled in the first exhibition devoted to multicolored objects at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis in 2014 highlights the sublime expression of the value of color in this masterwork. Untitled represents a careful fusion of two separate and distinct artistic practices, painting and sculpture, collapsing into a singularly exquisite narrative that transmits a profound intensity, clarity and identity.