Sol LeWitt made vital contributions to both Minimalism and Conceptualism, which dominated the artistic landscape of the 1960s and 1970s. Minimalism emphasized geometry and modularity, while Conceptualism privileged ideas over objects and process over product. Methodical, austere, and emotionally restrained, LeWitt’s sculptures generally consist of three-dimensional grids whose proportions are based on those of the smallest individual unit and whose overall configuration is deduced from predetermined ratios, as in the case with Untitled, created for LeWitt’s friend, the artist Fred Sandback. Such an approach was intended to relieve the artist from having to invent, compose, and express. Despite the complex mathematical calculations it entailed, though, this technique was too intuitive, absurd, and compulsive to merit the term logical. "Conceptual artists," LeWitt wrote in 1969, "are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach."
Dedicated on the bottom of the base: "For F.S., Sol LeWitt, 12/81"; signed on accompanying certificate: "This is a certificate, Sol LeWitt March 18, 1982 / 24 x 24 x 12" "
As a pioneer of Conceptual art, LeWitt privileged ideas over objects and process over product. LeWitt developed his ideas in three-dimensional sculptures he deemed "structures." These austere works generally consist of open grids rather than solid cubes. Theoretically, they peel back the skin of traditional sculptures to reveal their underlying skeletons. LeWitt based the proportions of these "structures" on the randomly chosen ratio of 1:8.5, which dictates the correlation between the line and space of the cubic units. Such a technique was intended to relieve the artist from having to invent and compose, but instead of being logical, the approach was intuitive, compulsive, even absurd. "Conceptual artists," LeWitt wrote in 1969, "are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach."
Princeton University Art Museum: Handbook of the Collections, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Art Museum, 2013).
"Acquisitions of the Princeton University Art Museum 2006," Record of the Princeton University Art Museum 66 (2007): p. 41-74.
Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton University Art Museum: Handbook of the Collection, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007).
An Educated Eye: The Princeton University Art Museum Collection (Friday, February 22, 2008 - Sunday, June 15, 2008)