Donald Judd began exploring artistic expression through painting in the late 1940s in New York City. His first exhibition opened in 1957 and was a collection of abstract paintings. He had an unusual route into art, as he had been a philosophy student at college. His attention was turned towards creative pursuits as a result of his Masters’ degree in the History of Art.
Although many associated him with minimalism, it was a term Donald Judd always denied was representative of his art. He felt what he created went beyond minimalism, but it is nevertheless a movement that continues to be associated with his work. He called for a new specifically American artistic expression that turned away from the European artistic values of illusion and represented space, and towards real space. For his later pieces he moved away from painting worked instead as a sculptor, from the mid 60s onwards. He used a variety of unusual materials, including plywood and ten steel. Sculptors today still site his influence. A native of Excelsior Springs Missouri, Judd died in Manhattan, New York City, in 1994 at the age of 65. He was still working as an artist up until the time of his death.