PAE: $10,000,000-$15,000,000
Robert Ryman, Bridge
Robert Ryman, Bridge, signed, titled and dated 'Ryman 1980 "BRIDGE"' (on the overlap) oil and rust preventative paint on canvas with four painted metal fasteners and square bolts, 75 1/2 x 72 in. (191.7 x 182.8 cm.) Painted in 1980. © Images are copyright of their respective owners, assignees or others.

Robert Ryman (b. 1930) is an American painter best known for his works made with white paint applied onto a square support. His paintings investigate the physical properties of not only the paint itself, but also the support upon which it sits. The wall that frames the work, the fasteners that hold it in place and the remnants of the process involved, such as blank areas caused by the removal of masking tape are all part of the work. In the late 1960s, he stated “there is never a question of what to paint, but only how to paint”. Through his work, Ryman identifies and highlights the ”matter” used when painting. Each work is a surface rather than a picture. He aims to “paint the paint” and his works display the record of this process, as in “Winsor 34”, 1966, in which the viewer can easily identify the start and stop of each brush mark and the way in which the underlying linen canvas is subtly affected by these marks. Although widely identified with the movement of minimalism, Ryman considers himself a “realist” and not a minimalist. His paintings depend on the physical presence of light as it reflects on his works, and how the light additionally affects the wall through the work's shadow and differing degrees of whiteness. “Varese Wall”, 1975, is itself a wall, and is repainted each time it is exhibited, continually engaging in a dialogue with the gallery wall to which it is diagonally attached and dependent upon. “Philadelphia Prototype”, 2002, beautifully reduces the painting to pure surface and dispenses the work's status as an object by further blurring the line between the wall and the work. The work consists of ten areas of vinyl sheets attached to the wall, initially with small strips of adhesive tape. The areas are covered with white acrylic paint, then the tape is removed and the works hang on the wall through the support of the applied paint that bleeds onto the wall itself, each area of vinyl reflecting the gradation of natural light that cascades across the gallery. (See "Art 21, Robert Ryman in 'Paradox'" from PBS) Through his reductive technique of white paint and support structure, Ryman’s work surprisingly expands painting further away from the enclosed canvases that it has historically been confined. Robert Ryman lives and works in New York and is represented by Pace Gallery. See also Robert Mangold, Frank Stella and Brice Marden

Video: Inside New York's Art World: Robert Ryman. From Duke Library Digital Collection