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Richard Artschwager was an American painter and sculptor whose celebrated career defied categorization. Associated at different times in his career with Pop, Optical, Minimalist, and Conceptual Art, Artschwager freely traversed classifications to create his unique blend of humorous, inventive work. “Sculpture is for the touch, painting is for the eye. I wanted to make a sculpture for the eye and a painting for the touch,” he said about his practice. Among his best-known works is the witty Table and Chair (1963–1964), a pair of laminate-covered blocks that serve dually as representations of furniture and as functional objects. Born on December 26, 1923 in Washington, D.C., Artschwager studied at Cornell University and was also mentored by pioneer of abstraction Amédée Ozenfant. He was wounded while serving in World War II, and initially painted abstract pictures that referenced his upbringing in New Mexico, but found much of his success with Minimal sculptures. Artschwager’s work has been the subject of numerous important exhibitions, such as at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The artist died on February 9, 2013, in Albany, NY at the age of 89.

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