Sol LeWitt, a leading artist of the Minimalist and Conceptual movements, stressed the importance of the creation of the work over the finished product, explaining, “…since art is a vehicle for the transmission of ideas through form, the reproduction of the form only reinforces the concept. It is the idea that is being reproduced. Anyone who understands the work of art owns it. We all own the Mona Lisa.”
LeWitt is celebrated for taking art off of the wall and making the wall itself the art. His wall drawings, which he began in 1968, were a way for his drawings to lift from the paper and inhabit the wall directly. LeWitt further revolutionized the art world by inviting others to assist him as well as create the works themselves, following a set plan of directives. Like a musical score, LeWitt produced written directions for the creation of his wall drawings, making them possible for anyone with a steady hand and a great attention to detail to manifest. Wall Drawing #1268: Scribbles: Staircase (AKAG), 2006-2010, one of LeWitt’s last commissions before his death in 2007, was for the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. The piece was created using 1,717 pencils with the instructions, “Line, continuous gradation, and feel of steel,” by a crew of 16 artists from LeWitt’s studio and the local Buffalo art community.
Not all of Sol LeWitt’s drawings were created in large scale. Small prints and drawings are equally befitting the artist’s delicate lines and shapes, as seen in the Lannan Collection’s pair of etchings. In reading the title of one of the works, Straight lines, approximately one inch long, drawn at random, within a square using four directions of line, 1) vertical 2) horizontal 3) diagonal, left to right 4) diagonal, right to left and all combinations of those lines, one is able to appreciate the artist’s generous spirit.