Robert Irwin (American, 1928-2023)
Not on View

Robert Irwin experimented with the perceptual dissolution between the object and the place in which it appeared. Using light as a raw material, he collected, harnessed and diffused it, sometimes with scrims and natural light, other times with artificial light and a manipulation of materials. These concerns occupied Irwin from the beginning of his artistic career, even when he was still working with such traditional materials as oil on canvas. Indeed, Irwin had set out to create “a painting that does not begin and end at an edge but rather starts to take in and become involved with the space or environment around it.” His breakthrough discs played with perception in such a way that the distinctions between solid and void—that is, the divisions between form and space that are negotiated in myriad ways in the previous galleries—are utterly blurred. Although the discs are projected nearly two feet away from the wall, they disappear into it. Perceptually, the form is fully integrated into its surrounding space.


  • Artist Name: Robert Irwin (American, 1928-2023)
  • Title: Untitled
  • Date: 1968
  • Medium: Synthetic polymer paint on metal disc and arm
  • Dimensions: 60 in. diameter (152.4 cm); white metal arm: 20 x 8-3/8 in. (50.8 x 21.3 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene M. Schwartz
  • Accession Number: P.1969.132
  • Copyright: © 2017 Robert Irwin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Object Information

Pace Gallery, New York, to;
Mr. and Mrs. Eugene M. Schwartz, gift 1969 to;
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, 1969-1975;
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena.

Permanent and Loan Collection, 1973

  • Pasadena Museum of Modern Art, 1973-01-30 to 1973-12-31

Beyond Brancusi: The Space of Sculpture

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2013-04-26 to 2014-01-06

Pasadena to Santa Barbara: A Selected History of Art in Southern California, 1951-1969

  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2012-02-11 to 2012-05-06

Translucence: Southern California Art from the 1960s & 1970s

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2006-05-12 to 2006-08-28

American Art of the 1960s from the Norton Simon Museum

  • Los Angeles, The Temporary Contemporary, 1990-03-13 to 1990-06-13
  • Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles, Calif.), 1988-10-04 to 1989-02-05

The Universe: Creation, Constellations and the Cosmos

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2001-02-04 to 2001-06-04
  • Humblet, Claudine, La Nouvelle Abstraction Américaine 1950-1970, 2003, Vol. III p. 1647
  • Clark, Robin, Phenomenal: California Light, Space, Surface, 2011, Fig. 1.5 p. 24

Additional Artwork by Artist

Untitled Robert Irwin 1967-68
Untitled Robert Irwin 1962-63

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