Judd, Donald

(b Excelsior Springs, MO, 3 June 1928; d New York, 12 Feb 1994). American sculptor, painter and writer. He studied philosophy and art history at the Art Students League (1947–8; 1950–53) and Columbia University (1949–53; 1957–62), a training that encompassed art theory as well as painting and sculpture. His first works, which he later termed ‘half-baked abstractions’, were untitled paintings in which he sought to simplify composition and to eliminate the balancing of forms that he felt characterized post-war European art. From 1959 to 1965 he wrote art criticism for American journals such as Arts Magazine, championing fellow artists from New York such as Claes Oldenburg, Frank Stella, John Chamberlain and Dan Flavin. During this period he gave up painting in order to devote himself to sculpture, or rather to the object, making painted wooden structures such as Light Cadmium Red Oil on Wood (1963; Ottawa, N.G.) that he exhibited in 1963 at the Green Gallery, New York. In their matter-of-factness and simplicity these abstract works were a logical continuation of the Colour field painting practised by American artists such as Barnett Newman. By placing the objects directly on the ground rather than on a plinth or base, Judd further emphasized their self-sufficiency, as in Untitled (1963; Ottawa, N.G.).