Donald Judd



Not on display

Donald Judd 1928–1994
Object: 371 × 1943 × 749 mm, 60 kg
Purchased 1973

Display caption

Judd wanted to remove all physical traces of the artist's hand from the making of a work, believing that they would distract viewers. From the mid-1960s, all his works were fabricated industrially according to his specifications. The seductively uniform surface of this work, enhanced by the reflective finish of the copper, calls attention to its industrial origins. The four projecting sections follow a simple arithmetical progression, their widths increasing by 1.5 inches from left to right. The spaces in between are determined by the same progression, but in reverse order.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

Donald Judd born 1928 [- 1994]

T01727 Untitled 1973

Inscribed 'JUDD | BERNSTEIN | BROS. | INC. | JO 72-21' on the bottom flange at the back
Copper, 14 9/8 x 76 1/2 x 29 1/2 (37 x 194.3 x 75)
Purchased from the Lisson Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1973
Prov: With Lisson Gallery, London (purchased from the artist through Leo Castelli, New York)
Exh: Don Judd, Galleria Sperone, Rome, March 1973 (no catalogue); Series, Tate Gallery, December 1977-January 1978 (12)
Lit: Mel Bochner, 'The Serial Attitude' in Artforum, VI, December 1967, p.33; Dudley Del Balso, Roberta Smith and Brydon Smith in exh. catalogue Donald Judd , National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, May-July 1975, No.286 in the catalogue raisonné, pp.94, 251, repr. p.25

Like much of Judd's work, this sculpture was fabricated to his specifications by Bernstein Bros., a metal-working firm in Long Island City, New York, and was invoiced for work completed on 5 February 1973. The figures 72-21 stamped on the flange at the back mean that this was the twenty-first Judd work ordered by the Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, in 1972, and the initials JO are those of José Otero, the mechanic who made it.

Brydon Smith, one of the three authors of the catalogue raisonné of Judd's sculpture, writes of this work (letter of 13 August 1975):

'The widths of the bullnose projections increase arithmetically by 1 1/2 inches. The widths of the spaces equal the first three projections but in the reverse order. Judd used this kind of series in all the square and bullnose fronted progressions.

'The form of your object was used first in DSS 77 on p.134 of the catalogue raisonné. Something that is not explained in the catalogue is that DSS 77 is a three-times blow-up in three dimensions of DSS 67 which in turn is based on a wooden prototype, DSS 45. The builnose projections in DSS 45 were made by laminating half-inch thick plywood semi-circles in groups of 6, 7, 8 and 9 making widths of 3, 3 1/2, 4 and 4 1/2 inches respectively. The 30 half-inch thick semi-circles were left-over from the 28 partitions and two sides used in DSS 41. I will not explain the series Judd used in spacing the partitions in DSS 41, except to say that it was the first object in which he used a mathematical series.'

The following versions have been made to date (all the same size, but with the exception of DSS 267, which exists in an edition of three, all either made of a different metal or painted a different colour). The letters DSS and the accompanying numbers refer to the catalogue raisonné by Dudley Del Balso, Roberta Smith and Brydon Smith, and the dates indicate when the objects were completed. The two last works of 1974 were made after the period covered by the catalogue.

DSS 77 Red lacquer on galvanised iron
29 December 1965
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

DSS 100 Blue lacquer on galvanised iron
27 January 1967; refabricated after damage 27 February 1968
Coll. Mr and Mrs Eugene M. Schwartz, New York

DSS 108 Purple lacquer on galvanised iron
13 June 1967; refabricated 17 April 1973
Museum of Modern Art, New York

DSS 117 Stainless steel
28 December 1967
Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne (Ludwig collection)

DSS 267 Brass (3 examples)
(1) First exhibited 7 October 1972
(2) First exhibited 1 November 1972
(3) Fabricated 20 November 1972
1, 2 and 3 are owned by the Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, Mr and Mrs Andrew Newman, Saint Louis, and Count Panza di Biumo, Varese, respectively

DSS 268 Chartreuse anodised aluminium
31 October 1972
The artist and Leo Castelli Gallery, New York

DSS 272 Burnt Sienna enamel on cold-rolled steel
Painted 1972; fabricated 29 December 1969
CoIl. Mr and Mrs Herbert Lust, Greenwich, Connecticut

DSS 286 Copper
5 February 1973
Tate Gallery

DSS 295 Purple anodised aluminium
First exhibited 20 September 1973
Galleria Sperone, Turin

DSS 296 Green anodised aluminium
First exhibited 20 September 1973
Galleria Sperone, Turin

DSS 297 Blue anodised aluminium
First exhibited 20 September 1973
Galleria Sperone, Turin

Yellow anodised aluminium
Leo Castelli Gallery, New York

Red anodised aluminium
Galerie Aronowitsch, Stockholm

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.377-9, reproduced p.377

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