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Robert Mangold

American, born 1937

© 2010 Robert Mangold / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Column Structure XXII, 2008

Acrylic, graphite, and black pencil on canvas
120 x 96 inches (305 x 244 cm)
Bequest of Arthur B. Michael, by exchange, 2009

Robert Mangold grew up in the Buffalo suburb of North Tonawanda, New York, and visited the Albright-Knox Art Gallery with his high school class. While studying at the Cleveland Art Institute, and then Yale University, he remembers the Gallery as being a center of the avant-garde in the 1950s and 1960s.

Mangold often works in series that evolve out of one another. His Column Structure works derive from the tall, rectangular paintings of his "Column" series. Mangold works out his compositions in pastel drawings before moving on to much larger canvases, where corrections are considerably more difficult to handle. In the background of the work, Mangold placed straight horizontal and vertical lines that act as a kind of grid, creating markers for his curved lines, which he draws completely by hand. For example, the vertical line in the center of the arm that extends out to the left guided him to where the curved lines should touch the edge in order to make the shape they create symmetrical. The horizontal line serves the same function for the oval’s other dimension. A careful look at the rest of the composition will yield similar observations. Contrary to most viewers' assumptions, the lines were applied first, followed by the color.