Conceptual. Minimalistic. Sol LeWitt graced the world today

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Sol LeWitt, Untitled lithograph 1992

September 9, On This Day

Sol LeWitt, c.1965

An iconic American artist, Sol (Solomon) LeWitt is said to have helped to establish both Minimalism and Conceptual Art through his work.

He was born today, 93 years ago — September 9, 1928 — although he passed away in April 2007.

LeWitt achieved fame in the late 1960s and has since 1965 been the subject of hundreds of solo exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world.

He was prolific in a wide range of media including drawing, printmaking, photography, painting, installation, and artist’s books. LeWitt transformed the process of art-making by questioning the fundamental relationship between an idea, the subjectivity of the artist, and the artwork a given idea might produce.

When it comes to minimal and conceptual art, LeWitt’s prolific two and three-dimensional works range in size from books and gallery-sized installations to monumental outdoor pieces. Besides wall drawings (over 1,200 of which have been executed), he created hundreds of works on paper extending to structures in the form of towers, pyramids, geometric forms, and progressions.

Four-Sided Pyramid, National Gallery of Art

His frequent use of open, modular structures originates from the cube, a form that influenced the artist’s thinking from the time that he first became an artist.

A representative example of LeWitt’s “Modular Cube” structures. The large voids between the beams are in an 8.5:1 ratio with the width of the material

According to the principle of his work, LeWitt’s wall drawings are usually executed by people other than the artist himself. Even after his death, people are still making these drawings.

However, in a significant departure from this aspect of his practice, he created gouache works with his own hands, using the opaque water-based paint to produce free-flowing abstract works in contrasting colors.

Sol LeWitt, wall drawing, in May 2012 during the Wall Drawings from 1968 to 2007 Sol LeWitt retrospective exhibition at the Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz, France.

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