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    Sale 2487 | Lot 86
    Estimate: $80,000 - $120,000
    • Click Image To Enlarge

    • Sale 2487 Lot 86

      ALVIN D. LOVING, JR. (1935 - 2006)
      Variations on a Square.

      Oil with charcoal on cotton canvas, 1965. 1080x1080 mm; 42 1/2x42 1/2 inches. Signed and dated in charcoal, lower right recto. Signed and dated in pencil, verso (twice).

      Provenance: the artist; Dr. Manuel Bilsky, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Robert Ross/Sheldon Ross Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan; private collection, Michigan/Sarasota, Florida (1994). Manuel Bilsky was a professor of philosophy at Eastern Michigan University when Loving taught there in 1968. With a signed and dated 1996 letter from the artist and his wife Mara Loving to the owner explaining the history of the painting.

      Variations on a Square is an exciting discovery and an important painting in the artist's development. The artist wrote that "this painting Variations on a Square was done as part of my graduation thesis show. It was one of the very last oil paintings I did". Loving received his Master of Fine Arts Degree at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1965. He also taught briefly as an Assistant Professor at Eastern Michigan University before moving to New York in the fall of 1968. In addition, he continued "it was the forerunner to the geometric abstractions that started my career in N.Y. This photograph (of Variations on a Square) is the only documentation I have of this period."

      In this early work's painterly geometry, one can see the influence of Loving's professor and mentor Al Mullen at the University of Michigan School of Art, who was a student of Hans Hoffmann. Inspired by Hoffmann and Josef Albers, Loving began his hard edge painting of cubes and hexagons in 1967, and had his first one-person exhibition with Gertrude Kasle Gallery in Detroit in 1969. Variations on a Square is Loving's earliest abstract composition we have located, and the earliest abstract painting to come to auction.

      Estimate $80,000 - 120,000