PETER ROEHR (1944-1968)
Untitled (TE–28)
stamped with the Estate of Peter Roehr stamp and numbered 'TE-28' (on the reverse)
typewriting on paper
29.5 x 21cm.
Executed in 1964
Acquired from the artists estate by the present owner.
S. Hayden and P. Hegarty, Peter Roehr: Field Pulsations, Cologne 2018 (illustrated, p. 123).
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Lot Essay

Created in 1964 – four years before Peter Roehr’s untimely death at the age of 23 – Untitled (TE–28) exemplifies the artist’s conceptual, serial language. Throughout his prolific yet tragically brief career, Roehr explored the aesthetics of order and repetition, inspired by fields ranging from thermodynamics to Zen Buddhism. Using primarily industrial, manmade materials, he sought to highlight the levelling of energy that occurs when equal units are assembled together in so-called ‘montages’ – be it photographs, objects, film fragments, letters or sounds. ‘I believe that everything conceals within itself comprehensible qualities which we nevertheless seldom perceive’, he explained. ‘When we perceive a thing several times in a row … we notice these characteristics’ (P. Roehr, notes from 1965).

Born in Lauenburg in 1944, Roehr studied at the Werkkunstschule in Wiesbaden. He was close to Frankfurt-based artists Thomas Bayrle and Charlotte Posenenske, and in 1964 struck up a friendship with Paul Maenz, who would go on to become one of the most influential German gallerists of the period. Together – in the year of the present work – Roehr and Maenz curated the pioneering group show Serielle Formationen (Serial Formations) at Frankfurt’s Goethe University. The exhibition showcased the work of artists such as Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd and Agnes Martin, many of whom had never been exhibited in Germany before. Roehr’s work certainly takes its place within the context of these figures: today he is widely considered a key progenitor of Minimal and Conceptual art.

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