Sol LeWitt, born Hartford, CT 1928-died New York City 2007
assembled and painted balsa wood
11 5/8 x 22 3/4 x 11 5/8 in. (29.4 x 57.9 x 29.5 cm)
General Services Administration\Art-in-Architecture Program
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the General Services Administration, Art-in-Architecture Program
Sol LeWitt created the sculpture One, Two, Three as a commission for the General Services Administration. In 1962 a government committee determined that fine art should be incorporated in the designs of new federal buildings, to enrich the surrounding communities. This initiative became the Art-in-Architecture Program, and LeWitt was chosen to design a sculpture for the plaza of the James M. Hanley Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Syracuse, New York. LeWitt presented this maquette of his proposed sculpture to the GSA's Design Review Panel in 1979. The final piece was constructed from painted aluminum and is twenty-nine feet long.
"Color, surface, texture, and shape only emphasize the physical aspects of the work. Anything that calls attention to and interests the viewer in the physicality is a deterrent to our understanding of the idea." Sol LeWitt, Christian Science Monitor, August 1978
Sol LeWitt, American, b. Hartford, Connecticut, 1928–2007
Graphite on wall
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, Joseph H. Hirshhorn Purchase Fund, 2007. The Panza Collection.
Dr. Giuseppe Panza, Massagno, Switzerland, to 27 September 2007
Joseph H. Hirshhorn Purchase Fund, 2007. The Panza Collection.
HIRSHHORN MUSEUM AND SCULPTURE GARDEN, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. The Panza Collection, 23 October 2008-11 January 2009, catalogue by Evelyn C. Hankins and Giuseppe Panza, p. 25; ill. pp. 24, 56-57.
UNSIGNED. The Panza Collection (Washington, DC: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, 2008), ill. [exhibition brochure]
Oral history interview with Sol LeWitt, 1974 July 15
LeWitt, Sol 1928-2007
Candido, Anthony 1924-
Flavin, Dan 1933-
Kerkam, Earl 1891-1965
Muybridge, Eadweard 1830-1904
Syracuse University Students
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)
Transcript: 75 p
1974 July 15
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website
Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformated in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hrs., 6 min
Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) was a sculptor and draftsman of Italy and New York
An interview of Sol LeWitt conducted 1974 July 15, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art
LeWitt speaks of his studies at Syracuse University, the Tiffany Foundation award for his lithograph, odd jobs, his work for magazines and the graphics department of I. M. Pei's firm, travel in Europe, his army service, graphic design work, typography, and abstract expressionism
He discusses his job at the Museum of Modern Art, influences upon his work, his interest in film and the photographs of Eadward Muybridge, and exhibitions at the Dwan, Daniels, and Kaymar Galleries. LeWitt comments on his change from metal to wood sculpture; conceptual, minimal and post-minimal art; series and systems; his wall drawings; torn paper and folded paper "drawings"; prints and etchings; music and books; and the exploitation of art and artists. He recalls Anthony Candido, Dan Flavin, Earl Kerkam, and others
Known as one of the leading conceptualist and minimalist artists of the postwar period, Sol LeWitt created a vocabulary of form that derived from squares, cubes, and lines. Repetition, sequences, and variations were integral to his imagery. He frequently established rules by which an image would be created, leaving the actual execution to his assistants.
The series Wavy Brushstrokes is notable for its curvilinear movement and free-form strokes. In contrast to the geometric forms and monochromatic tones that characterized much of his earlier work, LeWitt explored brilliant color combinations in his wall drawings and prints toward the end of his career. For this sequence of images, LeWitt began with a matrix of gestural lines printed sequentially. In the second, third, and fourth images of the set, he used the identical matrix of lines, but printed different colors in a different order, resulting in transparent overlays and evocative combinations.