Donald Judd ( American, 1928 - 1994 )


Janssen C.V.

executed 1998, designed 1984
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General Description

In 1973, the artist Donald Judd (American, 1928-1994) moved his studio to Marfa, Texas. Lack of quality furniture available in Marfa prompted him to construct his first beds, chairs, tables, and desks for his own use. He nailed together pieces of wood cut at a lumberyard to create simple, functional works. Judd's original designs, mostly built by local assistants for his own use, were subsequently executed in plywood, aluminum, copper, and other materials by Holland manufacturer Janssen C.V.

Like all of his furniture, this chair is closely related to Judd's minimalist sculpture. The basic form was considered ideal for mass production, but the nature of its construction required extensive handwork. Based on a perfect cube, this chair relates well to the DMA's untitled Judd sculpture of 1988 (1990.137.A-F) and four later Plywood Chairs he designed in 1991 (1992.26.1-4). Rather than repeat the same form to make a series, Judd modulates the cube with metallic surface and structural changes while maintaining the basic overall shape. Of his chair designs, Judd stated, "The furniture is comfortable to me...A straight chair is best for eating or writing. The third position is standing."

Adapted from

  • Bonnie Pitman, ed., Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art; New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2012), 351.

  • Kevin W. Tucker, DMA unpublished [2010.40], 2010.

Web Resources

  • Donald Judd Foundation
    Explore the furniture of Donald Judd.

  • Scribd
    Follow this link to read Donald Judd's 1993 essay "It's Hard to Find a Good Lamp," discussing the relationship between art and furniture.

  • Christie's
    Watch a video of scholars discussing Judd's furniture design.