October 7, 2012


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Lot 416: De Wain Valentine

Lot 416: De Wain Valentine

Curved Waterwall

Laminated glass
80" x 72" x 15"
LAMA wishes to thank the artist for his kind assistance in Catalogueing this lot.
Provenance: Custom designed 1990 for Sally & Robert Hunt, California; Private Collection, New Zealand
Estimate: $50,000 - $100,000
Price Realized: $81,250
Inventory Id: 3782

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Venice Beach, California in the early 1960s was full of vacant buildings with cheap rent that were just a brief walk from the expansive views of the Pacific. In other words, it was the optimum environment for De Wain Valentine (b. 1936) to realize his sculptural potential. Valentine’s natural surroundings have always been a dominant influence in his work: “In Colorado, I had a love affair with the clouds and mountains. When I moved to California, the smog became a substance, and the quality of light had a body to it that was just thrilling.” Upon arrival in 1965, he immediately wanted to create sculpture that would embody the sea and the sky, as if he sliced a chunk straight from the landscape. To achieve the pristine surfaces and monumental size of his sculptures, he teamed up with the Hastings Plastics Company in Santa Monica to develop his own polyester resin. Referring to the intense industrial processes Valentine utilized, Larry Bell commented, “De Wain was doing stuff that had never been done before, inventing techniques that were unheard of.” He was “absolutely fearless” and poised to work with any material that would achieve his aesthetic vision.

In the late 70s, Valentine began working with glass to create large fountains. Like the impetus behind his cast resin discs and columns, “The inspiration for the fountain grew out of a desire to sculpt a piece of the ocean or actually come as close as possible to carving out a section of the sea.” Constructed for a private residence in New Zealand in 1990, Curved Waterwall incorporates water as an additional layer to the sculpture, taming an elusive medium to manipulate light. The monolithic stature and wedge shape recalls one of Valentine’s largest sculptures, Gray Column (1975-1976), which was on view at the Getty Museum during Pacific Standard Time. In Curved Waterwall, he has succeeded in capturing a piece of the ocean in its mysterious infinity, and in any setting, it will exude a sense of tranquility only De Wain Valentine can create.

“Gray Column.” Pacific Standard Time at the Getty Center. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2012. Web. 13 Aug. 2012.“L.A. Art Scene.”Pacific Standard Time at the Getty Center. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2012. Web. 13 Aug. 2012.Learner, Tom. From Start to Finish: De Wain Valentine’s Gray Column. Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute, 2011. Print.