Ellsworth Kelly

1923 - 2015

American (Newburgh, New York - Spencertown, New York)

Ellsworth Kelly is an American painter and sculptor associated with Hardedge painting, Color Field painting and the Minimalist schools. His works demonstrate unassuming techniques that emphasize the simplicity of form. Kelly often employs bright colors to enhance his works. WWII had a lasting affect on the artist. His background in the military has been suggested as a source of the seriousness of his works. Upon his discharge at the end of World War II, Kelly took advantage of the G.I. Bill education provisions to study at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and then at the École Nationale Aupérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. It was in Paris that Kelly established his aesthetic. He was significantly influenced by the work of Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Piet Mondrian. His introduction to Surrealism and Neo-Plasticism caused him to test the abstract and geometric forms. He moved to New York in 1954 where he spent time with Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. In his resistance to the popularity of Abstract Expressionist Kelly became part of Hard-Edge painting, where he searched for total unity, creating work that contained no foreground or background. In the 1960s he often juxtaposed fields of equally vibrant color, squeezing the expansive shapes within the confines of the rectangular canvas. Notice the tension between the color fields, how the soft shapes are flat, yet seems to float and be contained within the print. Western art history.


Sort By: