Sol LeWitt

American (Hartford, Connecticut, 1928 - 2007, New York City, New York)

Starting from the simple but radical new idea that an artwork's concept is more important than its form, Sol LeWitt helped revolutionize the definition of art in the 1960s. By the middle of that decade, LeWitt had rejected the dominant, psychologically charged abstract style of artmaking for impersonal, geometric forms. By repeating and varying a single principle, he created sculptural structures that were aesthetically satisfying even as their internal logic was pushed to the edge of irrationality.

LeWitt's procedure of repetition and variance is also the basis for his wall drawings. Each of these impermanent artworks consists of a set of the artist's instructions, something like a musical score, with the actual execution carried out by someone else.

Over the years, LeWitt's austere compositions gradually became more complex and sensuous, though they remained true to his original precepts.


From June 3, 2013, through early 2016, SFMOMA's building on Third Street in San Francisco will be temporarily closed for expansion construction. Selected artworks in our collection are included in a range of off-site exhibitions during this period. We regret that the remainder of the collection will not be available for study during this time.

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