Sol LeWitt

American artist (1928-2007)

Solomon "Sol" LeWitt (September 9, 1928April 8, 2007) was an American artist linked to various movements including conceptual art and minimalism. His mediums are predominantly painting, drawing, and structures (a term he prefers in opposition to sculpture.)

Sol de Witt's Circle with Towers in Madison Square Park, New York City
Double Negative Pyramid in Europos Parkas/Lithuania
Tall Irregular Progression in Barcelona, Spain

Quotes of Sol Lewitt

  • The artist’s aim is not to instruct the viewer, but to give information, whether the viewer understands the information is incidental to the artist.
    • “Serial Project #1, 1966,” Aspen 5/6 (Fall/Winter 1967)
  • Artists are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach.
    • 0-9 (New York), 1969, and Art-Language (England), May 1969
  • The artist is seen like a producer of commodities, like a factory that turns our refrigerators. I believe that the artist's involvement in the capitalist structure is disadvantageous to the artist and forces him to produce objects in order to live.
    • in: Art Institute of Chicago. Video Data Bank (1992), On Art and Artists. p. 1991
  • The artist’s will is secondary to the process he initiates from idea to completion.. ..His wilfulness may only be ego.. ..The process is mechanical and should not be tampered with. It should run its course.
    • as quoted in Gerhard Richter, Doubt and belief in painting, Robert Storr, MOMA, New York, 2003, p. 88, note 17

"Paragraphs on Conceptual Art," 1967


Sol LeWitt, "Paragraphs on Conceptual Art", Artforum, V/10, Summer 1967,

  • In conceptual art the idea or the concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art. This kind of art is not theoretical or illustrative of theories; it is intuitive; it is involved with all types of mental processes and it is purposeless. It is usually free from the dependence on the skill of the artist as a craftsman.
    • p. 80. Cited in: Diane Waldman. Carl Andre. Published 1970 by Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. p. 7
  • The ideas need not be complex. Most ideas that are successful are ludicrously simple. Successful ideas generally have the appearance of simplicity because they seem inevitable.

"Sol LeWitt by Saul Ostrow," 2003


Sol LeWitt by Saul Ostrow, art interview in:Bomb Magazine, Fall 2003.

  • Just as the development of earth art and installation art stemmed from the idea of taking art out of the galleries, the basis of my involvement with public art is a continuation of wall drawings. As soon as one does work on walls, the idea of using the whole wall follows. It means that the art is intimately involved with the architecture. It is available to be seen by everyone. It avoids the preciousness of gallery or museum installations. Also, since art is a vehicle for the transmission of ideas through form, the reproduction of the form only reinforces the concept. It is the idea that is being reproduced. Anyone who understands the work of art owns it. We all own the Mona Lisa.
  • Minimal art went nowhere. Conceptual art became the liberating idea that gave the art of the next 40 years its real impetus. All of the significant art of today stems from Conceptual art. This includes the art of installation, political, feminist and socially directed art. The other great development has been in photography, but that too was influenced by Conceptual art.

Quotes about Sol Lewitt

  • That was always the thing with Minimalism, there was no content allowed of course, but only the thing in the space, that was what Sol LeWitt was always about, and Carl Andre – it was all about avoiding content. I was always very interested in this, right from the beginning, especially with my 'Ellipsoids' [she made 1981 - 1983]. They look like minimalism, but in the end there is a lot going on there.
    • Isa Genzken (2009) in: 'Out to Lunch with Isa Genzken', interview by Simon Denny, visiting Isa Genzken's show 'Wind', 2009, Courtesy: Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne/Berlin

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