The eleven paintings that Donald Judd installed at the Cobb House, including this one, all date from between 1956 and 1958. Judd exhibited paintings from the same period in two shows at the Panoras Gallery in New York, Don Judd and Nathan Raisen (September 4–15, 1956) and Don Judd (June 24–July 6, 1957).
Discussing the work of abstract expressionists such as Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock in a 1968 interview with Lucy R. Lippard, Judd expressed the relationship of his painting to that of this previous generation of artists, stating:
In general Pollock is the one I liked most. But it never seemed possible for me to actually use the technique or anything like that. I assumed that dripping was all Pollock’s and best left alone. So I never did anything like that. I did do, maybe in ’56 or ’57 or something, some relatively loose painting, just expressionist in general. Loose painting really didn’t do what I wanted or something, because it always seems a little unnatural, even though I got so I could sort of do it pretty well.1
In her essay in Judd’s 1975 catalogue raisonné, Roberta Smith wrote of the abstract forms in these paintings, “The irregular shapes themselves are difficult to describe and look as if Judd took great care to make them that way.”2 Although Judd stopped painting after 1962, painting informed the rest of his career as an artist: “My thought comes from painting even if I don’t paint.”3