Sol LeWitt, who was born in 1928 and died only two years ago, is an artist I’ve admired and respected for some time now, not only for the calibre of his work, but also for the manner in which he executed it.
Working alongside celebrated contemporaries such as Dan Flavin and Robert Ryman, LeWitt produced an array of extraordinary pieces of art spanning several media – paper and ink, prints, wall drawings and sculpture, to name a few.
Notoriously publicity shy, LeWitt orchestrated his collective of assistants (logistically required to complete some of the large scale pieces) often with intentionally vague instructions, encouraging their interpretations of his brief to influence the final visual. Then, characteristically, he credited them with the results.
By working with a basic palette of colours (red, yellow, blue, black), shapes (quadrilaterals, spheres, triangles) and line work, LeWitt undoubtedly retained some control of the aesthetic behind each piece, but, nonetheless, actively encouraged others’ involvement in the creative process.
Reading this back it sounds like he would have made a perfect creative director – inspirational and brilliant without a suggestion of arrogance or ego, nurturing those who shared his passion for what they loved most.
Interesting, then, to discover LeWitt started his professional life as a graphic designer.