Photolithographed color illustrations.  leaves mounted on orig. stubs (two double-page & folding). Large square 4to (305 x 321 mm.), navy blue cloth boards, title on spine, cloth-covered slipcase. Houston: Texas Gallery, 1982.
One of LeWitt’s rarest artist’s books, produced in an unusually small edition of 15 copies (with 8 A.P.) and signed by LeWitt (1928-2007) on the half-title. Published by Fredericka Hunter’s Texas Gallery, this book is composed of photolithographs in alternating blue, yellow, red, green, and black, all executed by Ryo Watanabe on fine Rives BFK paper. A departure from his works based on geometric permutations, Statues (a melodrama) was part of LeWitt’s shift towards more subjective photographic books in the early 1980s.
The illustrations are transformed photographs taken by LeWitt of statues he saw in Italy. In 1980, the artists displayed these original photographs in a show entitled Statues at the John Weber Gallery in New York (30 October-22 November). The two images on the 20th leaf of this book match those printed on the gallery’s exhibition announcement card.
Clive Phillpot writes: “Looking back much later, in 2003 Sol LeWitt said: ‘I reached a point in the evolution of my work at which the ideology and ideas became inhibiting. I felt that I had become a prisoner of my own pronouncements or ideas’…the fact that Sol LeWitt acknowledged a change in his attitude to making art at the end of the 1970s is paralleled by a change in his way of making books. It is possible to say that around this time, beginning with the photographic books, LeWitt forsook completeness in the narratives of his books, and began to accept incompleteness.”–“Sol LeWitt’s Books: Complete & Incomplete,” in Booktrek: Selected Essays on Artists’ Books (1972-2010) (2013), p. 266.
The two principal references (see below) on LeWitt’s artist’s books lack this title, and it is very often the one piece missing from collections of his books. LeWitt rarely signed his books; here he has signed his name in pencil on the half-title, with the limitation “8/15.”
In excellent condition, with the original slipcase in fine condition as well. This work is unrecorded on WorldCat. Among North American institutions, we find just the copy at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
❧ Sol LeWitt Prints Catalogue Raisonné (online) 1982.06.
Not in Maffei & de Donno, Sol LeWitt Artist’s Books (2009).
Not in Sol LeWitt: Libros, El concepto como arte (2014).
Item ID: 8132