Despite the restraint of Robert Mangold’s minimalist, geometry-based painting, his work is perceptually elusive and retains a contemplative sensibility. Born in North Tonawanda, New York in 1937, Mangold studied at the Cleveland Art Institute from 1956 to 1959. After receiving a fellowship to study at the Yale Summer School of Music and Art in Norfolk, Connecticut, he transferred to Yale University, where he received his B.F.A. in 1961 and M.F.A. in 1963. In New York during the early sixties, Mangold worked as a guard at the Museum of Modern Art with colleagues Sol LeWitt, Robert Ryman, Dan Flavin, and Lucy Lippard. Together these artists shared ideas that developed into minimalist theories.
In 1964 Mangold had his first one-person show in New York and subsequently participated in several seminal group exhibitions, including “Systematic Painting” held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1966, and “Primary Structures,” at the Jewish Museum in 1967. Mangold held various teaching positions, among them the School of Visual Arts in New York, Hunter College, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Yale Summer School of Music and Art, and Cornell University Summer Art School. After receiving a Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 1969, Mangold moved to upstate New York, where he continued to work in his characteristic hard-edged minimalist style. In response to his earlier architectonic forms and monochromatic constructions, Mangold shifted to focus on ambiguous geometrical forms, specifically X-shaped canvases. Later he experimented with “Frame Paintings” whose centers were cut away. In 1971, the Guggenheim Museum gave him his first museum exhibition. Currently, Mangold lives and works in upstate New York.