Lot Details

This one-color lithograph pulled by hand from stone on Arches paper at the Shorewood Bank Street Atelier in New York by American master Sol Lewitt is a classic example of pure Minimalist art from the early 1970s - the most influential and desirable era.

"Vertical Lines Not Touching (Black)" was created for the legendary portfolio "CONSPIRACY: the Artist as Witness", to raise money for the legal defense of the Chicago 8 - a group of anti-Vietnam War activists indicted by President Nixon's Attorney General John Mitchell for conspiring to riot during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. (1968 was also the year Bobby Kennedy was killed and American casualties in Vietnam exceeded 30,000.) The eight demonstrators included Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale. (The eighth activist, Bobby Seale, was severed from the case and sentenced to four years for contempt after being handcuffed, shackled to a chair and gagged.) Although Abbie Hoffman would later joke that these radicals couldn't even agree on lunch, the jury convicted them of conspiracy, with one juror proclaiming the demonstrators "should have been shot down by the police." All of the convictions were ultimately overturned by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

This lithograph has superb provenance: it comes directly from the original Portfolio: "Conspiracy The Artist as Witness" # 23/150, which also featured works by Alexander Calder, Jack Beal, Romare Bearden Leon Golub-Nancy Spero, Robert Morris, Claes Oldenburg, Larry Poons, Peter Saul, Raphael Soyer and Frank Stella - as well as this one by Sol Lewitt. It was housed in an elegant cloth case, accompanied by a colophon page.

This is the first time since 1971 that this important lithograph has been removed from the original portfolio case for sale. It is becoming increasingly scarce because so many from this edition are in the permanent collections of major museums and institutions worldwide.

American artist SOL LEWITT (1928-2007) was considered a founding leader of various movements, including Conceptual art and Minimalism. LeWitt rose to fame in the late 1960s with his wall drawings and "structures" (a term he preferred instead of "sculptures") but was prolific in a wide range of media including drawing, printmaking, and painting. His works are included in major museum collections worldwide. He has held solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Stedelijik Museum in Amsterdam, among other venues. In 2000, the artist's work was featured in his major retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Lewitt has endeavored to reduce art to the most basic shapes, colors, and lines. The execution of the work was much less important to LeWitt than the original concept.

It is in mint condition, a superb impression. The photograph does not do justice to the texture and color of this classic piece of pure lithography. Ships flat, not rolled.

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Catalogue Raisonné: 3, Kornfeld
No condition report has been added for this lot. Please contact the specialist for further information.
  • CONSPIRACY: The Artist as Witness, 1971 23/150
  • Ships From: New York, USA
  • Shipping Dimensions: 17.25 x 23.5 in. (43.82 x 59.69 cm.)
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