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Contemporary Art Evening Sale

by Sotheby's

May 10, 2006

New York, NY, USA

Martin Puryear (1941) Please Register/Login to access your Invaluable Alerts

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Description: B. 1941

66 1/4 x 62 x 18 in. 168.3 x 158 x 45.7 cm.

red cedar

Executed in 1989.


Donald Young Gallery, Chicago
Acquired from the above in August 1989


Chicago, Donald Young Gallery, New Sculpture: Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon, Martin Puryear, Susana Solano, May 1989
Mexico City, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Algo con Qué Tropezar, 2001


Exh. Cat., Madrid, Sala de Expos, Ciones de la Fundacion "la Caixa", Martin Puryear, 1997, cat. no. 7, p. 23, illustrated in color and p. 6 (illustration of the work in the artist's studio)
Exh. Cat., Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, Martin Puryear, 1991, p. 152


"Minimalism legitimized in my mind something I have always focused on--the power of the simple, single thing as opposed to a full-blown complex array of things." Martin Puryear

The exacting sculptures of Martin Puryear are the aesthetic fruition of purist Minimalist logic accented by a stylistic approach steeped in the tradition of woodcarving. Modest materials such as wood, tar and stone are thus fashioned by his simple, yet precise tools. While Puryear maintained the legacy of Minimalism by favoring simple, reductive forms, Puryear rejected the manufactured aesthetic associated with minimalists such as Donald Judd. Noatak, with its lusterous natural patina and organic form eschews the aforementioned manufactured sensibilities. Instead, it recalls the imprint that craft-oriented ancient societies, whose relationship with nature was fundamental and ritualistic, bears on Puryear's work. Bearing the namesake of the Noatak National Reserve and river in Alaska, which Puryear visited in 1978, the present lot exemplifies how Puryear's extensive travels serve as a mnemonic device in his work, and how his works seek to convey an essence rather than a mere representation.

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