DeWain Valentine

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Double Pyramid by DeWain Valentine, 1968, cast polyester resin, Honolulu Museum of Art

De Wain Valentine (born 1936) is an American minimalist sculptor who was born in Fort Collins, Colorado. Often associated with the Light and Space movement in the 1960s, he is best known for his minimalist sculptures of translucent glass (such as Diamond Column in the collection of the Honolulu Museum of Art), fiberglass and cast polyester resin (such as Double Pyramid in the collection of the Honolulu Museum of Art) having slick surfaces suggestive of machine made objects. He lives and works in Gardena, California.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Valentine worked in boat shops and began to make art pieces from plastic, which he tried unsuccessfully to show in New York.[1] Attracted by the work of artists such as Larry Bell, Craig Kauffman, and Kenneth Price, which he learned about by reading the magazine Artforum, Valentine moved to Los Angeles in 1965 and had his first solo show at Ace Gallery in 1968.[2]


Influenced by the seascapes and skies of Southern California, Valentine was an early pioneer of using industrial plastics and resin to produce monumental sculptures that reflect and distort the light and space that surround them. For Valentine, a smooth surface was the whole point of the work and he did not want it to look old.[3] While he was teaching a course in plastics technology at UCLA in 1965, he wanted to produce a polyester resin in large volumes that would not crack from curing. He began working with a chemical engineer from PPG Industries Ed Revay, and eventually they discovered the Valentine MasKast Resin in 1966.[4] The highly stable resin allowed him and other artists to go far beyond the 50-pound limit to which they had once been restricted.[1] In 1989, Valentine designed the Governor's Awards for the Arts, presented by the California Arts Council to artists, arts patrons and community leaders.[5]


The Denver Art Museum, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Louisiana State University Museum of Art (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Norton Simon Museum (Pasadena), the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art (Utah State University, Logan, Utah), and the San Diego Museum of Art (San Diego, California) are among the public collections holding work by DeWain Valentine. Among the many Corporate Art Collections that have excellent examples of Valentine's work are the Atlantic Richfield Corporate Art Collection (Los Angeles & New York offices); and the Anaconda Corporation (Denver).


In 1980, Valentine received a fellowship by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.[6]

Art market[edit]

In October 2011, Valentine’s Circle, a robin’s egg blue resin disk only 17 inches in diameter, sold at L.A. Modern Auctions for $32,500, a record for the artist and well over six times the high estimate of $5,000. Monumental disks by Valentine can go for $500,000 to $1 million.[7]


  • Edmonton Art Gallery, An Exhibition of five recent works by Larry Bell, John McCracken, DeWain Valentine, Ron Cooper [and] Peter Alexander, Edmonton, Canada, Edmonton Art, 1971.
  • Milwaukee Art Center, Eight Artists: Lynda Benglis, Sam Gilliam, Ralph Goings, Hans Haacke, Duane Hanson, Sol LeWitt, DeWain Valentine, Richard Van Buren, Milwaukee, Milwaukee Art Center, 1971.
  • Pasadena Art Museum, DeWain Valentine: Recent Sculpture, Pasadena, Calif., Pasadena Art Museum, 1970.
  • Valentine, DeWain, DeWain Valentine 1985, Honolulu, D. Valentine, 1985.
  • Valentine, DeWain, DeWain Valentine, An Exhibition Organized by the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, Calif., La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, 1975.
  • Erik Barnes and Daniel Desure (2011), From Start to Finish: The Story of Gray Column, a 29-minute documentary film about the making and restoration of Valentine's art, screened at the Getty Center in 2011–2012 in conjunction with an exhibit of Valentine's art there [1] and shown at the 2012 Newport Beach Film Festival [2].


  1. ^ a b c Randy Kennedy (September 15, 2011), "Reputation and Monolith, Both Stand Tall" The New York Times.
  2. ^ De Wain Valentine Getty Center, Los Angeles.
  3. ^ Vanessa Thorpe (October 9, 2011), "De Wain Valentine's Gray Column restored for modern art show" The Guardian.
  4. ^ Michael Palumbo (September 13, 2011), "'Gray Column' at Getty Museum reflects De Wain Valentine’s lifelong fascination with plastics" The Daily Bruin.
  5. ^ Mary Helen Berg (October 5, 1989), "Nine Awards to be Given by Governor" Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ DeWain Valentine Archived 2011-11-12 at the Wayback Machine John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, New York.
  7. ^ Julia Halperin (May 2, 2012), "It’s Like Someone Turned a Tap On”: How Pacific Standard Time Transformed the Market for California Minimalism ARTINFO.