Catalogue entry

T03097 WALL STRUCTURE 1965/1967

Inscribed ‘Sol Le Witt/DONE IN 1965 (SIGNED IN 1980)’ on reverse
Painted aluminium relief, 72 1/2 × 47 1/2 × 12 (184.1 × 121.6 × 30.5)
Purchased from the Lisson Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1980
Prov: 1968 with Dwan Gallery, New York; after 1968, private collection Europe; listed in Sotheby's sale, London, 5 December 1979, lot 348, but withdrawn from sale; 1979–80, private collection; 1980 purchased by the Lisson Gallery
Exh: Prospect'68, Kunsthalle, Dusseldorf, September 1968 (not in catalogue)
Lit: Alicia Legg, Lucy R. Lippard, Bernice Rose, Robert Rosenblum, Sol Le Witt, New York 1978, p. 53, wood version repr.pl.25
Repr: Sol LeWitt (exh. catalogue), Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, July–August 1970, p.36 (wood version, as ‘Untitled’ 1965, coll. Leo Vallador, New York)

Sol Le Witt made two versions of this structure. The prototype was one of a number of painted wood constructions shown in his first one-man exhibition at the Daniels Gallery, New York, in May 1965.

Five of these early constructions are illustrated in the book which accompanied LeWitt's exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, February–April 1978 (op.cit.), with the following commentary by the artist: ‘When looking for a job at the school of visual arts, I showed photos of my work to Don Nice, the personnel director; he ... referred me to a new gallery, the John Daniels Gallery, run by David Herbert and Dan Graham. I showed them the photos and later that year I showed some work there. Dan Graham, who was particularly interested in new work, was showing Robert Smithson, Forest Myers, Jo Baer, Will Insley and others while doing some very significant work himself. The gallery lasted about five months. The pieces I showed there were fairly large and simple slabs. Using lacquer, much work was done to make the surface look hard and industrial: This was negated by the grain of the wood. They should have been made in metal as some of them later were, but I could not afford it then’.

Reviewing the exhibition at the Daniels Gallery (Arts Magazine, XXXIX, no.10. pp.63–4), Anne Hoene described the construction as ‘simple rectangular boards set at 15-degree or right angles to one another and enameled in rubber-based house paints, one colour each ...in an inverted L' [probably the original of T03097] ‘the horizontal bar bends out and around, and [referring to another work] the top of a gilded T folds forward above the viewer’. In a letter to the compiler (27 May 1983) the artist confirmed that the first version of T03097 was made for exhibition at the Daniels Gallery. ‘It was made of wood by myself and painted (I believe) dark red or brown. I traded this piece to another artist, Leo Valledor, who lives in San Francisco. The piece is still there. The second, aluminium, or steel version was made in 1967, at Bergeÿk Holland...or in Dusseldorf (where I don't know). It was shown at the Prospect'68 ... After Prospect'68 I don't know what happened to it, although the piece you have is undoubtedly it’.

In the same letter, the artist confirmed that, although the dimensions of T03097 and its predecessor do not conform exactly, the work was planned on the following serial progression I: 1/8: 1/8: 1/2, i.e., the height of the work is halved in the width of the horizontal member, which is itself halved in the horizontal section, which has been bent or folded away from the wall; this latter section is halved again by the final right angle.

By the time T03097 was made, LeWitt was showing regularly at the Dwan Gallery in New York. According to John Weber (letter 7 April 1983), who was, at that time, the director of the gallery, the structure was probably not shown in America. John Weber remembers that it was included in the exhibition Prospect'68, at the Kunsthalle, Dusseldorf, in 1968 and suggests that the metal version was fabricated under the supervision of Dick van der Net, at the metal working firm, Nebato N.V., Bergeÿk, Holland.

After Prospect, the work is believed to have been acquired by a German collector. In 1979 it was listed in the catalogue for a sale of Modern and Contemporary Art at Sotheby's (op.cit.), but was withdrawn before the sale.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1980-82: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1984