It was said that Sol didn’t like vacations. His pleasure was being in his studio. He explained that he had worked out his life as he wanted it to be, so why take a vacation from it?1
Perhaps this postcard to Wynn Kramarsky from October 1996 may have been sent during Sol’s slip from a life of rigorous non-vacationing.
Sol and Carol LeWitt sent this postcard from the Brazilian town of Ouro Preto (Portuguese for “black gold”), just over 500 kilometers from Rio de Janeiro. Ouro Preto is a well-known historic center, famous for its 17th- and 18th-century art and architecture. Grand monuments were created here as testaments to the town’s wealth, which was derived from the rich gold deposits in the area.
The mid 18th-century font pictured on the front of Sol’s postcard is located in the Chapel of Padre Faria, and it echoes the Pre-Columbian style within a Baroque format — the bastard child of these two prominent movements in the Americas.
The elaborate curves of the font, twirling alongside an evocative, fearsome carved face, seem to have intrigued Sol. If we imagine his work prior to this period of the mid-1990s — a stricter geometry of straight lines–perhaps we can see that it would not have complimented the font as well as the loose drawing here does. Now, the images speak to one another through the screen of many centuries.
When the stamp was placed on this postcard, did Sol put it there, or did the post office? We notice that the classical head on the stamp is staring at Sol’s drawing, enraptured!
Sol LeWitt Biography
Sol LeWitt (b. 1928, Hartford, CT; d. 2007, New York, NY) earned his BFA at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York (1949). LeWitt’s work was first publicly exhibited in a group show at the Kaymar Gallery, New York (1964), and has since been the subject of hundreds of solo exhibitions. The most recent retrospective of the artist’s wall drawings was installed in 2008 at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), North Adams, in partnership with the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, and with the Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts, and will be on view for 25 years. His work is represented in museum collections worldwide, including: The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Dia:Beacon, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Tate Modern, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Australian National Gallery, Canberra, Australia; and the National Museum of Serbia, Belgrade. LeWitt lived and worked in New York City, where an installation of his three-dimensional structures, organized by the Public Art Fund, was on view in City Hall Park through 2011. Pace Gallery has represented the estate of LeWitt since 2007.
Joan Witek Biography
Joan Witek (b. 1943, New York, NY) earned her BFA from Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York (1964), and continued her studies at the Brooklyn Museum Art School, New York (1964-1968), and the Art Students League, New York (1969-1973). Witek was a Curatorial Assistant at the Brooklyn Museum in Primitive Art and New World Cultures (1964-1968) and she worked as an Assistant Curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in the Rockefeller Wing (1971-1978). Witek attended City University and Hunter College, New York, for graduate coursework in Art History (1977-1981). Recent solo exhibitions have been held at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (1984); Rosa Esman Gallery (1984, 1985); 560 Broadway, New York (1997); Sean Scully Studio, New York (2000); CDS Gallery, New York (2001); and Gallery Niklas von Bartha, London (2000, 2003, 2005, 2009). Witek’s work has been included in group exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1991); the PS1 Museum, Long Island City (1977, 1992); the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1982, 1983, 2003, 2007); the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC (1996); the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1997); the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009); the San Diego Museum of Art (2008); the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Esteban Vicente, Segovia, Spain (2009); Bartha Contemporary, London (2009, 2012); Gallerie Weinberger, Copenhagen (2010); Sammlung Schroth, Kloster Wedinghausen, Arnsberg, Germany (2011, 2012); and Kunstmuseum Wilhelm-Morgner-Haus, Soest, Germany (2013). She lives and works in New York City. More information about her work can be found at www.joanwitek.com.