The conceptual artist Sol LeWitt (1928–2007) is best known for his programmatic wall drawings and modular structures, but alongside these works he generated thousands of lithographs, silkscreens, etchings, aquatints, woodcuts, and linocuts. Strict Beauty: Sol LeWitt Prints is the most comprehensive presentation of the artist’s printmaking to date, including single sheets and print series, for a total of over 200 individual prints.
The exhibition begins with the artist’s earliest prints: figure studies and scenes of urban life made at Syracuse University and in Hartford, Connecticut. LeWitt’s mature printmaking is explored in four thematic sections that reflect the diverse abstract languages he pursued throughout his career: “Lines, Arcs, Circles, and Grids,” “Bands and Colors,” “From Geometric Figures to Complex Forms,” and “Wavy, Curvy, Loopy Doopy, and in All Directions.”
Curated by David S. Areford, professor of art history at the University of Massachusetts Boston, the exhibition is accompanied by an in-depth catalog co-published by the New Britain Museum of American Art, Williams College Museum of Art, and Yale University Press. The exhibition and catalog highlight the essential role of printmaking in LeWitt’s oeuvre, deepening the understanding not only of the variety of LeWitt’s output but of the genealogy of his distinct geometric and linear formal language.
Born in Hartford, Connecticut, and raised in nearby New Britain, Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) was a pioneer of conceptual art and is considered one of the most influential artists of the second half of the twentieth century. His broad artistic practice included wall drawings, structures, photography, printmaking, artist’s books, drawings, gouaches, and folded and ripped paper works.