Sol LeWitt was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1928, to a family of Russian immigrants. He studied art at Syracuse University, before being drafted to the Korean War in 1951, during which he made posters for the Special Services. After the war, in 1953, LeWitt moved to New York, where he took classes at the Cartoonists and Illustrators School. Around the same time, LeWitt did production work for Seventeen magazine and, between 1955-56, worked in graphic design in the the office of architect I. M. Pei. In the early 1960s, he started a night job as receptionist at the Museum of Modern Art. There his colleagues were other young artists, including Dan Flavin, Robert Ryman and Robert Mangold, who with him would later become the founders of Minimalism. LeWitt became fascinated with Russian Constructivism, and with Eadweard Muybridge’s photographs representing people and animals in motion. Thanks to his casual encounters and chosen influences, by the early 1960s LeWitt had begun to explore conceptual processes that would characterise his work for his career. These methods were mathematically-based, defined by language, or created through random processes.
LeWitt’s work from early 1960s investigate the three-dimensionality of the cube. Using variation and seriality, geometric permutations would become one of LeWitt’s most consistent motifs. Whilst initially working on canvas or paper, by the late 1960s he was producing wall drawings. These would continue after he left New York for Spoleto, Italy, in 1980. LeWitt’s fist solo show took place at the John Daniels Gallery in New York, 1965, and he would go on to exhibit at the Italian Pavilion at Venice Biennale in 1988. LeWitt would continue to work throughout his life until his death on 8 April 2007, New York.
LeWitt’s work can be found in the following selected international collections: the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Dia Art Foundation, Beacon, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA); the Tate Collection, London.
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