1928– 2007, United States
Leading figure of Conceptual Art, Sol LeWitt is known for his intellectual approach of art where idea and planning prevail on the execution of an artwork. In his famous Wall Drawings, the artist’s own intellect becomes “the machine that makes art” expressed in his characteristic Minimalist artistic vocabulary.
LeWitt completed a degree at the Syracuse University before completing his military service during the Korean War. In 1953, he moved to New York where he worked as a graphic designer. While experimenting Abstract Expressionism, he met influencing artists such as Robert Mangold, Robert Ryman and David Flavin.
In the 1960’s, he produced empty geometrical sculptures in wood, metal and aluminum that he designated as “structures”. The artist progressively drew inspiration from Joseph Albers, Robert Rauschenberg and Eadweard Muybridge to develop the essence of his research on the conceptual relation between art and its idea. In 1967, LeWitt finally established the credo of Conceptual Art in an essay published in Artforum magazine: “When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art”.
The following year, he started giving concrete shape to his cerebral approach with his extensive series of Wall Drawings. Based on a set of formal instructions and sometimes sketches, the artworks were usually monumental drawings directly painted on the gallery walls by his assistants. Playing on repetition, the resulting works consisted in abstract images exploring the bounds between geometry and patterns, as in Wall Drawing #652. LeWitt’s practice was also applied to various mediums notably drawings or sculptures.
Sol LeWitt passed away in 2007 in New York City.
Today his work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) (New York), the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.), the Tate Gallery (London), the Centre Pompidou (Paris), the Museum fur Moderne Kunst (MMK) (Frankfurt), among others.