Robert Ryman’s $420 Million Gesture

BY Katrina Kufer / Apr 17 2017 / 18:02 PM

The American minimalist artist donates 21 artworks to Dia Art Foundation

Robert Ryman’s $420 Million Gesture
Image courtesy Christie's Images Ltd.
Robert Ryman. Bridge. 1980. Oil and rust preventative paint on canvas with four painted metal fasteners and square bolts. 191.7 x 182.8 cm.

The New York-based Dia Art Foundation has just received a substantial donation of 21 artworks from seminal painter Robert Ryman, most noted for his work in the Minimalist movement. Ryman’s auction record stands at $20.6 million, set in 2015 by his white 1980 canvas, Bridge, at Christie’s New York, and his Dia donation has an estimated value of $420 million. While the foundation has long been the destination in which to best view Ryman works since its opening in 2003, the artist’s personal donation brings the foundation’s collection of Ryman works up to 43 pieces, making it the most comprehensive Ryman collection in a US institution.

Working with light, space and the rooms in which his works are shown, Ryman most often worked in the form of abstract white-on-white tableaux ingrained with formal and material subtleties that interacted with the surroundings. The entirety of his works are up on display at the foundation and will continue to be permanently exhibited as Ryman, and Dia director Jessica Morgan, believe the works are best seen in multiples and in non-chronological groupings.

The donation follows the foundation’s reestablishment of its footing following the loss of several patrons and leadership changes in recent years, and Ryman’s works will exhibit alongside his Minimalist and Post-minimalist contemporaries including Dan Flavin, Sol LeWitt and Donald Judd.

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