"I'm an abstract painter not just for myself, but because I really believe in abstraction." (Brice Marden)

The U.S. painter Brice Marden died on August 9 at the age of 84. As a formative representative of the abstract painting of his generation, Marden was known from the 1960s onward primarily for his serial arrangements of monochrome picture panels, which he combined into diptychs, triptychs, and polyptychs. The permanent exploration of the constellation of light, color and picture surface formed a central moment of his work.

Like his contemporary Jasper Johns (b. 1930), who was a few years older, Marden - whose early work was often inaccurately attributed to Minimal Art - experimented, among other things, with color mixtures of oil and beeswax in order to reduce light reflections and enhance the depth effect of the color surfaces. An example of this modern use of encaustic is the triptych "Range" (1970, oil + wax on canvas, 155 x 267 cm), which was on view in 1972 as part of documenta 5 (section "Idea") on the upper floor of the Fridericianum.


While his second documenta participation in 1977 (in the section "From Construction to Concept") represented his work in drawing, Marden's third "appearance" in the context of documenta 9 (1992) reflects the change that took place in his work in the course of the 1980s: In an exploration of Chinese and Japanese calligraphy, sweeping line progressions that condensed into shimmering, light-filled compositions became a new constant in his work from then on.

In 2008/2009, the Museum Wiesbaden dedicated a comprehensive retrospective of his prints to Marden. Four years earlier, he was awarded the Alexej von Jawlensky Prize there.