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Richard Serra
paintstick on handmade paper
Sheet: 19 × 24 inches (48.3 × 61 cm)Framed: 21 3/4 × 26 3/4 × 2 1/8 inches (55.2 × 67.9 × 5.4 cm)
Credit Line
Kirk Varnedoe Collection, Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia, Gift of Richard Serra.
Accession Number
Richard Serra was born in San Francisco and attended the University of California at Berkeley and Santa Barbara, earning his B.A. in English literature and supporting himself by working in steel mills. His studies then took him to the East Coast, where he earned both a B.F.A and M.F.A from Yale University, studying under Josef Albers. Some of his earliest work in sculpture was made of soft pieces of lead, which the artist shaped by hurling them repeatedly at his studio wall. Such physicality and force was a continued presence in Serra’s work, as he became widely known for his large-scale minimalist sculptures, often made of sheet metal or other industrial materials. In 1999, Serra created a massive, 60-foot tall steel sculpture titled Charlie Brown, which dominates the courtyard of the San Francisco office building in which it was placed.

Although best known as a sculptor, Serra has been a prolific creator of works on paper (both prints and drawings) since the early 1970s. The drawing Kirk, created for the Varnedoe collection in 2005, typifies the style of Serra’s works on paper with its monochromatic palette and thick application of media. Serra has applied the paintstick to the paper so vigorously that the resulting surface of the drawing has an extremely dense, three-dimensional, almost tar-like appearance.