Eva Hesse



Not on display

Eva Hesse 1936–1970
Ink on paper
Support: 459 × 610 mm
frame: 691 × 833 × 43 mm
Purchased 1986

Display caption

Towards the end of her year working in Germany, Hesse produced a group of particularly free and bold drawings. While earlier drawings had suggested complex machines with a number of interlinked parts, she now concentrated on isolated organic elements that anticipate the sculptures she would begin to make when she returned to New York. Like other works by Hesse, this drawing suggests references to the body while remaining abstract.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

Eva Hesse 1936-1970

T04153 Untitled 1965

Black and purple inks on paper 459 x 610 (18 1/8 x 24 1/8)
Inscribed ‘Eva Hesse 1965' b.r.
Purchased from Xavier Fourcade Inc., New York (Grant-in-Aid) 1986
Prov: Mrs Helen Charash, the artist's sister 1970; Xavier Fourcade Inc., 1985
Exh: Eva Hesse: A Memorial Exhibition, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Dec. 1972-Feb. 1973, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, March-April 1973, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, May-June 1973, Museum of Modern Art, Pasadena, Sept.-Nov. 1973, University Art Museum, Berkeley, Dec.-Feb. 1974 (54, repr.); Eva Hesse 1936-1970, A Retrospective of Works on Paper, Mayor Gallery, May-June 1979, Riijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo, June-Aug. 1979 (20); Eva Hesse 1936-1970 Skulpturen und Zeichnungen, Kestner Gesellschaft, Hanover, Aug.-Sept. 1979 (59, repr.); Eva Hesse - A Retrospective of the Drawings, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio April-May 1982, The Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Sept.-Nov. 1982, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Nov. 1982-Jan. 1983, Grey Art Gallery and Study Center, New York University, Jan.-Feb. 1983, Baltimore Museum of Art, March-April 1983, Des Moines Art Centre, Iowa, May-July 1984, University of Arizona Museum of Art, Aug.-Sept. 1984, Portland Center for The Visual Arts, Oregon, Oct.-Dec. 1984, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California, Feb.-Mar. 1985 (54, repr.); Eva Hesse: The Early Drawings and Selected Sculpture, Rose Art Museum, Waltham, Massachusetts Nov.-Dec.1985, (27, repr.)
Lit: Lucy Lippard, Eva Hesse, New York 1976, pp.25-47, fig.43; Ellen H. Johnson, ‘Drawing in Eva Hesse's Work', in Eva Hesse: A Retrospective of the Drawings, exh. cat., Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, Ohio 1982, pp.9-26; Susan L. Stoops, ‘Eva Hesse: The Early Drawings', in Eva Hesse, The Early Drawings and Selected Sculpture, exh. cat., Rose Art Museum, Waltham 1985 [p.12]

Like T04154 this drawing was made in Germany in 1965. It is simpler and bolder than T04154 and in her catalogue of the drawings, arranged, as far as possible, chronologically, Ellen Johnson places it after T04154 in a sequence of similar smaller works. Johnson suggests that this is one of the works forming part of Hesse's ‘3rd Stage' drawings as described by the artist in a letter to Sol LeWitt in March 1965 (see T04154):

Then, as she describes in her third stage, the drawings become ‘clean, clear' and their forms larger and bolder. In this last, large group of ‘machine' drawings, Hesse's hand and imagination take off from the specific sources and line is freed to soar and swoop like a seagull across the page. The size of the paper (mostly 19 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches) gives scope to this burst of freedom: the uniform, flowing line mostly black ink, occasionally veering to colour ... Sometimes a little, flat, wash area is pink or purple or ... magenta, in others it is the hatched lines that carry the colour accent. (Johnson 1982, p.15, see also nos 50-58, repr.)

Johnson suggests that in these later German works Hesse's line was released so that ‘finally it flowed off its support into real space' (i.e. the reliefs; ibid., p.17). As Lucy Lippard points out, the ‘bound' sausage-or-penis like forms that appear in drawings of this period, anticipate the hanging and bound sculptures Hesse made in late 1965 on her return to New York, for example ‘Ingeminate' 1965 and ‘Several' 1965 both made in November 1965 (repr. Lippard 1976, figs 67 and 68).

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.171-2

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