This painting’s repeating, horizontal bands of color extend incompletely across the textured canvas; the work was listed as unfinished in Donald Judd’s 1975 catalogue raisonné. Judd added sand to the paint he used in this and other early works, in an attempt to “make it just surface.”1
Although Judd had previously used black oil paint to cover the surface of a painting on canvas, he employed wax and sand in addition to the oil, creating a deeper black with more depth. Describing the connection between his painting and his works in three dimensions, Judd said in a 1965 interview, “One of the reasons, I guess, that my stuff is geometric is that I want it simple, and I want it nonnaturalistic, or nonimagistic, or nonexpressionistic. The simpleness, as far as I’m concerned, goes all the way back through my other paintings, almost to when I first started working.”2
1 “Don Judd: An Interview with John Coplans,” in John Coplans, Don Judd, exh. cat. (Pasadena, CA: Pasadena Art Museum, 1971), 21.
2 Bruce Hooton, interview with Donald Judd, February 3, 1965, audio, Oral History Program, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
Smith, Brydon, ed. Donald Judd: Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Objects, and Wood-Blocks 1960–1974. Exh. cat. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1975, 105 (DSS cat. no. 21).
Judd, Donald. “A Portrait of the Artist as His Own Man: Sculptor Donald Judd Traces the Reasons He Settled in Marfa, Texas.” House & Garden, April 1985, 163 (ill.).
Kellein, Thomas. Donald Judd. Early Work 1955–1968. Exh. cat. New York: D.A.P., 2002, 76 (ill.), 154.
Judd, Donald. Donald Judd Writings. Ed. Flavin Judd and Caitlin Murray. New York: Judd Foundation and David Zwirner Books, 2016, 942 (image 100).