Sol LeWitt (1928 – 2007)

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Sol LeWitt was an American artist, known for his minimal structures and drawings. Though Sol Le Witt worked with a variety of media, he is possibly best remembered for his wall drawing installations.

LeWitt was born to a family of Russian immigrants in Hartford, Connecticut. Realizing his interest in art at an early age, LeWitt decided to study art at Syracuse University in upstate New York. After graduating in 1949, LeWitt spent time in Europe, exposing himself to historical architecture and art. After returning from his trip, LeWitt served in the military during the Korean War. LeWitt was stationed in California, Japan and Korea.

After returning from war, LeWitt moved to New York to continue his career in art and design. He took some classes at the School of Visual Arts and worked as a designer for “Seventeen” magazine. In the late 1950s LeWitt was hired to do some work for the architect I.M. Pei and held a low-level job at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). At the MOMA, LeWitt saw a number of influential exhibitions and worked alongside other upcoming artists such as Dan Flavin, Robert Mangold and Robert Ryman.

LeWitt soon had the inspiration he needed to begin making his famous wall drawings, structures and prints. His exhibitions travelled across the United States and Europe. His drawings were seen as both minimal and conceptual, as he believed his ideas came before his handwork. LeWitt’s tendency to draw directly on walls challenged the tradition of working on prepared surfaces such as canvas and paper. LeWitt made numerous 3-dimensional series out of metal and wood, which he preferred to call ‘structures’, rather than ‘sculptures’. In addition to gallery work, LeWitt worked with an architect to design a synagogue, Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek.

The work of LeWitt has travelled to exhibitions around the world. His work continues to appear in museum retrospectives and permanent collections.

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