Sol LeWitt



Sol LeWitt

Lines in colors

Gouache on paper
154 x 103 cm (60 ⁵/₈ x 40 ¹/₂ inches)

Sol LeWitt began his career as a young graphic artist working for the architect I. M. Pei. This experience with architecture marked the entirety of his work to come, in which the idea, the project, and the preparatory drawings play a more important role than the realization itself.

In 1965, Sol LeWitt exhibited his first modular sculptures in New York, revealing his clear affiliation with artists working in minimal art. But, above all, LeWitt was one of the principal founders and theorists of conceptual art (a term that he invented in 1967); his publications Paragraphs on Conceptual Art (1967) and Sentences on Conceptual Art (1969) define the principles of his practice.

For him, the concept takes precedence over the execution: "The idea becomes a machine that creates art." His wall drawings are, in principle, ephemeral, and their duration is that of the exhibition, at the end of which, the walls are repainted. For LeWitt, each installation has its own value, as long as the concept is understood and respected by the workers who execute the geometric drawings according to his instructions. The panel is adapted to the scale of the new space; therefore, it's not a matter of reproducing, but of interpreting the artistic idea. In consequence, the wall drawings are not fixed in space nor in time. His methodology is often compared to that of a composer, whose score is always the object of the musician's individual interpretation, which nonetheless follows the composer's indications.

In the 1990s, LeWitt's mural drawings become more and more exuberant and colorful, and by the end of the decade, he had distanced himself from geometric rigidity and moved toward more fluid lines, working on paper, as in Lines in Color. This gouache is representative of the last decade of the artist's life, in which he explored several techniques on paper, breaking dramatically with his preceding practice, creating works by hand in vivid colors and supple, fluid brushstrokes that emanate a kind of expressionism and testify to the constant renewal of his language.

Sol LeWitt's work has been the object of over 500 exhibitions, including large retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2008-2009), the San Francisco Museum of Art (2000), and the Centre Pompidou Metz (2012), among others. His work is held in collections in the greatest museums, such as the Guggenheim Museum of Art in New York, the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington D.C., the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and the Tate Modern in London. 

Lisson Gallery, London
Private collection


Sol LeWitt