Donald Judd 100 untitled rolled aluminum works, 1982–1986
Crafts Sculpture

Donald Judd American artist

Donald Judd 100 untitled rolled aluminum works, 1982–1986
100 untitled rolled aluminum works, 1982–1986. Donald Judd.

American artist who really did not like to give names to his sculptures and founded a huge open-air museum in Texas with his own money.

Donald Judd (June 3, 1928 – February 12, 1994) – the famous American sculptor of the second half of the twentieth century, one of the greatest representatives of minimalist art. He was famous for creating sculptural compositions of simple regular shapes from ordinary building materials.

Donald Judd also devoted most of his career to teaching in American educational institutions of various levels of accreditation. He frequently lectured on the theory of art, for many years he was engaged in the development of new models of furniture, and in the mid-1980s he created a large-scale Chinati Foundation Museum with an area of ​​one and a half square kilometers, which houses selected works of the master and other outstanding artists of the 20th century.

“Donald Judd: Paintings.” Installation view: Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, Apr 5 – Jun 24, 2018. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio.

Biography of Donald Judd

The father of the future artist was a responsible employee of the financial corporation Western Union, and his mother was a housewife. After graduating from school, Donald served in the engineering troops for a couple of years, and then entered a prestigious college in Virginia. In 1950, he again put on a military uniform and spent three years as part of a contingent of American troops in the Korean War.

After demobilization, Donald continued his studies at Columbia University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s degree in art history. Since the late 1940s, he created paintings in the style of expressionism, and later combined his studies at the university with attending classes at the student art school in New York.

paintings Minimalism
paintings Minimalism

From the mid-1950s, Donald Judd contributed to several leading art magazines, writing critical articles for them. Gradually, he gained a reputation as a fashionable art critic, defending the ideas of post-abstractionism and arguing that classical painting was hopelessly outdated.

Judd’s first sculptures were made in the early 1960s, using simple geometric shapes and common industrial materials.

Donald rarely gave original titles to his works, preferring that they remain untitled. On the wave of general interest in contemporary art, the artist’s work turned out to be in great demand, already the first personal exhibition of sculptures in 1963 brought the author wide international fame.

In 1964, Donald married Julie Finch, who later bore him two children, a son, Flavin, and a daughter, Reiner. Relations between the spouses were not easy, they constantly quarreled and divorced in 1978. Judd was never married again; in the mid-80s, he lived in a civil marriage for several years with the artist Lauretta Vinciarelli, and later with Marianna Stockebrand.

Stacks by Donald Judd
Stacks by Donald Judd
As a popular modern sculptor, Donald has been earning solid money since the mid-60s of the last century.

In New York, he bought an old five-story building, equipped it with a huge workshop and exhibition hall. And in the early 1970s, the artist bought a plot of land in Texas with an area of ​​130 km², where he created sculptural compositions the size of a room. At the same time, the master first tried his hand at furniture design, and this type of artistic activity also turned out to be very profitable.

Color boxes, 1991.
Color boxes, 1991.

In addition to creativity, Judd always found time to write scientific papers on art theory. He also published critical articles in popular art magazines and lectured to students at universities. During his life he took part in more than 200 exhibitions and received a huge number of international awards.

Unfortunately, neither loud fame nor a huge fortune could save the artist from serious health problems. In the late 1980s, doctors diagnosed him with blood cancer, and this deadly disease gradually destroyed the master’s body. At the height of his popularity and commercial success, on February 12, 1994, Donald Judd died in the ward of a New York clinic, and the Chinati Foundation, founded by him in the mid-1980s, inherited most of the artist’s fortune.

“Untitled, 1968 (DSS 120)” by Donald Judd is on display at Christie’s, October 29, 2009.