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This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné currently being prepared by The Estate of Richard Lin Show Yu.
Marlborough Fine Art, London
Ernő and Ursula Goldfinger Collection (acquired in 1960 from the above)
Private Collection, UK (by descent from the above)
Sale: Olympia Sotheby's 20th century British and Ireland art, 23 November 2005, lot 198
Private Collection, UK
Ernő and Ursula Goldfinger收藏 (約在1960年購自上述畫廊)
Master of Minimalism - Richard Lin
Richard Lin's creative evolution can be divided into three periods. Having experimented with representational paintings at first, Lin increasingly simplified his approach to a more reduced, paired down aesthetic starting in the late 1950s. Repetition, serenity, and creative endurance form the basis of Lin's artistic cultivation. He has once stated, "Stillness is very important to me. Painting is my religious expression. It's my altarpiece, something untouched by human hands. Therefore, all gestures disappeared."
Richard Lin's disciplined pursuit of simplicity and balance is made evident by the time he spent on many of his works. The present lot 17, Cadmium Green, characterized by cool abstraction and subtle introduction of yellow and green lines of various weight, depicts surrounding landscapes which are reduced into linear abstractions. After many years in London's buzzing artistic scene, Lin decided to move to the farm Gwynfryn in Wales in 1969 to seek a more tranquil and spacious work environment. Cadmium Green depicts the recurring influence of landscapes seen in his compositions from the 60s and the 70s after his "White Series" and after his move to the rural west Wales. Lin painted pastoral scenes of fields and flowers, and the boundless meadows, in his own unique landscape style through a linear construction. Using masking tape, Lin creates yellow and green lines with awareness to his bodily stance, exuding attentive energy, force, grace and freedom. What results is a geometric simplification of line and equalization of texture at first glance, which transition into a mesmerizing composition with a sense of the sublime upon closer inspection. Appearing on the market for the first time in more than forty years and coming from a private collection, Cadmium Green serves as an epitome of Lin's abstract landscapes.
Vertical in orientation, 14-May-1959 (lot 18) is characterized by Lin's distinctive use of black oil pigments and early experimentation with his lyrical abstraction series. Each variation of black paint oscillates between absence and presence depending on its surroundings and environment. Cascading washes of black in subtle tonal gradations, the present lot exuberates a deeply contemplative cosmic aura and radiance, drawing viewers to the darkest black strip of the canvas. Drawing inspiration for his works from unconstrained and infinite force of nature, Lin highlights the energetic essence of the universe, especially the idea of the eclipse, which is central to Lin's oeuvre as seen in his Sun and Moon series.
What initially appears as a two-dimensional canvas, is actually a composition of a multi-dimensional space, displaying connections with the "three distances" in Chinese landscape paintings – flat distance, high distance and deep distance. 14-May-1959, the effect is created through variating tonal gradations of black, highlighted with accents of faint white and gold. Advancing and receding in a multi dimensional space, each subtle difference creates an optical effect of multiple layers on a flat canvas. Reminiscent of Chinese ink and wash methods in traditional shanshui landscape paintings, the present lot highlights Lin's unique approach to Western oil painting reabsorbed through a Chinese philosophical mode of thought.
14-May-1959 was previously collected by couple Erno and Ursula Goldfinger, who acquired the painting from Marlborough Fine Art in London circa 1960. Erno Goldfinger was a Hungarian-born architect and furniture designer, who moved to England in the 1930s. A leading figure of the Modernist architectural movement, Goldfinger was influential in designing tower block housing, characterized by geometric and functional concrete forms. The couple realized the appeal of Lin's canvases, gathering similarities to the artist. Executed in 1959, 14-May-1959 displays Lin's mathematical precision in forms and his early experimentation with geometric abstraction. Here, we have a composition that is minimal in a holistic and unitary effect. It is this sense of wholeness that is fundamental to Lin's oeuvre, which is captured with a fluid sensibility in the present lot.
極簡主義大師 – 林壽宇
本拍品來自於厄諾與烏蘇拉．葛芬格（Erno and Ursula Goldfinger）伉儷的收藏，他們在1960年前後在倫敦的馬博羅畫廊購藏此作。厄諾．葛芬格是位匈牙利出生的建築師暨家具設計師，他在1930年代移居英國。作為現代主義建築的領導人物，葛芬格在集合式住宅大樓的設計方面具有相當的影響力，其設計的特色為幾何性與功能性的水泥結構。葛芬格夫婦在林壽宇的作品裡找到共鳴，領會他們與藝術家之間的共通之處。繪於1959年，本拍品涵納林壽宇數學般精密的形式與藝術家早期關於幾何抽象的實驗所得。在此，我們看見了一幅完整自足的極簡畫作。這份完整性正是林壽宇藝術的核心，以一種流動的情感形式呈現在這件作品裡。