A milestone of Minimalist art and the very first of Flavin’s fluorescent-light sculptures, this work exists in nine versions. The first, in yellow, is dedicated to the modernist sculptor Constantin Brancusi, while this, the second, in "cool white," honors the renowned art historian Robert Rosenblum—an early proponent of downtown New York artists of the 1960s. The Diagonal joined a selection of Flavin’s other fluorescent sculptures in a groundbreaking show at New York’s Green Gallery in the fall of 1964, where the pieces flaunted their banal and utilitarian origins—they are simple fixtures ordered from a supplier in Brooklyn—while flooding the walls and floors of the gallery with colorful, painterly light.
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Title:The Diagonal of May 25, 1963 (To Robert Rosenblum)
Artist:Dan Flavin (American, New York 1933–1996 Riverhead, New York)
Medium:Cool white fluorescent light
Dimensions:Overall: 96 in. × 3 5/8 in. (243.8 × 9.2 cm)
[Kaymar Gallery, New York, 1964]; [Green Gallery, New York, 1964–65; sold in 1965 to Rockefeller]; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York (1965–72; sale, Parke–Bernet Galleries, New York, March 1, 1972, no. 59, sold to Brant); Peter M. Brant, Greenwich, Conn. (1972–74; his gift to MMA)
New York. Kaymar Gallery. "Dan Flavin: Some Light," March 5–29, 1964.
New York. Green Gallery. "Dan Flavin: Fluorescent Light," November 18–December 12, 1964.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Junior Museum. "Looking at Sculpture," November 17, 1981–January 3, 1982, brochure no. 26.
New York. Queens Museum of Art. "Twentieth-Century Art from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Selected Recent Acquisitions," July 16–October 16, 1983, brochure no. 8.
Brydon Smith. Fluorescent Light, Etc. from Dan Flavin. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa, 1969, no. 74, ill.
"Five Works Sold at Gallery Here: Cranbrook Items Realize $445,000 at Parke-Bernet." New York Times (March 4, 1972), p. 18.
Peter Schjeldahl. Art of Our Time: The Saatchi Collection. Vol. 1, London, 1984, p. 26, no 14, ill. p. 42 (color), different edition.
David Batchelor. "Reviewed Work: Esprit de Corps: The Art of the Parisian Avant-Garde and the First." Oxford Art Journal 13, no. 2 (1990), p. 98.
Anna C. Chave. "Minimalism and the Rhetoric of Power." Arts Magazine 64 (January 1990), pp. 45–46, fig. 7.
Mark Rosenthal. Abstraction in the Twentieth Century: Total Risk, Freedom, Discipline. Exh. cat., Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. New York, 1996, p. 189, ill. no. 188 (color), not this edition.
Robert Rosenblum. "Passages: Robert Rosenblum on Dan Flavin, Name in Lights." Artforum 36 (March 1997), pp. 11, ill. p. 12 (color).
Tiffany Bell. "Dan Flavin, Posthumously." Art in America 88 (October 2000).
Michael Govan and Tiffany Bell. Dan Flavin: A Retrospective. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. New York, 2004, pp. 215–19, no. 15, ill. (color).
Christopher K. Ho. "Dan Flavin's Corner Square: Before and after the Mast." PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 26 (September 2004), p. 43 n. 14.
Jeffrey Weiss. Dan Flavin: The 1964 Green Gallery Exhibition. New York, 2008, pp. 10, 24. 26, ill. pp. 6 (color), 16, 40–41 (color), 55 (color), 54 no 1, 57, not this edition.
Dr. Agnes Husslein-Arco, ed. Love Story: Sammlung Anne & Wolfgang Totze. Exh. cat., Winterpalais, Austria 21er Haus, Museum of Contemporary Art. Vienna, 2014, ill. pp. 96–97, 367 (color, installation view).
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