Untitled, c. 1960
oil on canvas
177.8 x 121.6 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 18034)
© Donald Judd Foundation / SODRAC, Montreal / VAGA, New-York (2013)
"Half or more of the best new work in the last few years has been neither painting nor sculpture", Donald Judd wrote in 1964 in an essay published the following year as "Specific Objects" in the Arts Yearbook. The text became one of the defining statements on minimal art, but also served as a declaration of Judd's own changing artistic practice. The present work, from 1960, was one of a series of paintings that explored various means of dividing the canvas; while apparently casual, the line meandering across and beyond the painted surface is a careful construction of non-illusionistic space. Judd had abandoned painting by 1962, focusing instead on the free-standing, three-dimensional "specific objects" he called for in 1964; here we see Judd at work just prior to this major development.