Tucked inside an interior wall of Victorian-era rowhome in northern Liberties lies a small but significant moment in Art History. In 1980, renowned artist Sol LeWitt visited the homeowners and fellow artists, Helen Herrick and Milton Bruton. The current owner, Erika Katz, with the help of Deborah Solo, purchased the home from Herrick and Bruton over two decades ago and says “the walls were filled with the ghosts of art on the walls, floor to ceiling.” And though the former owners took much of the art with them, a sketch drawn onto the wall by LeWitt remained.
Dated 4/20/80, LeWitt’s drawing depicts “Lines In Four Directions”, a concept he iterated upon throughout the late 70s and early 80s. LeWitt, a founder of minimalism, sought to explore art in it’s most fundamental elements: line, color, space, and form. With this interest in the system used for making art, “Lines In Four Directions” uses a limited visual vocabulary and basic geometry to express his ideas.
In 1981, LeWitt would return to Philadelphia to meet with the Fairmount Park Art Association (currently known as the Association for Public Art) to propose a public artwork for a site in Fairmount Park. He selected the long, rectangular plot of land known as the Reilly Memorial and submitted a drawing with instructions. Installed from 2012 to 2015, thirty years after its conception, Lines in Four Directions in Flowers was a work of monumental scale, made up of more than 7,000 plantings arranged in strategically configured rows.
We’d like to think that this stunning public art installation had some humble beginnings on the wall of a Northern Liberties Rowhome.