16 black & white plates.  pp. Square 4to (200 x 200 mm.), orig. illustrated semi-stiff wrappers (spine sunned & a trifle stained), staple-bound. London: Studio International, 1969.
One of LeWitt’s earliest artist’s books, remarkably well-preserved. This is the artist’s fifth book, but the third standalone publication not originating from an exhibition or periodical. It is now scarce on the market.
“The front cover of Four Basic Kinds of Straight Lines is an exemplary statement of the compositional elements: vertical lines, horizontal lines and the two sets of diagonal lines. The proportions are immaculate. The back cover, in turn, states the narrative: one square with lines in one direction, a second with two kinds of lines overlaid, a third with three kinds and the fourth with all kinds superimposed; it too is superbly clear and perfectly designed…
“The first page [of the book] after the cover reveals a grid of 16 squares, and functions rather like a contents page. Fifteen of the squares declare the elements of the work: the four basic kinds of lines, the six combinations of two kinds of line, the four combinations of three lines, and the single square with all four lines. The 16th square contains the title of the work. This is comparable to a magician showing their audience that they have nothing up their sleeve before they begin their act. In LeWitt’s case he proceeds from this introductory page to show us exactly what was prefigured on the contents page, except that each of the 15 components is now blown up and bled off, one to a page. But while there is, therefore, no surprise, there is magic. This magic lies in the completeness of the scenario, its simplicity and clarity, its capacity for re-enactment, the beauty of its design and execution, and the perfect physical qualities of the book…This book, like much of LeWitt’s art, has a stability, also a rightness. Nothing can be, or needs to be, taken away; it is a clear and beautiful expression of his idea.”–Clive Phillpot, “Sol LeWitt’s Books: Complete & Incomplete,” in Booktrek: Selected Essays on Artists’ Books (1972-2010) (2013), pp. 261-62.
A near fine copy; faint wear to the extremities and some discoloration to the spine.
❧ G. Maffei & E. de Donno, Sol LeWitt: Artist’s Books (2009), pp. 32-33.
Sol LeWitt: Libros, El Concepto Como Arte (2014), Libros de Artista no. 5 (pictured p. 58).
Item ID: 8110