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By Nina J P Evans

Monday, November 09, 2015

Ellsworth Kelly

 Méditerranée 1952
Ellsworth Kelly born 1923 is an American painter, sculptor and printmaker, he recently gave a very candid interview in the guardian. I am sure he’d be a fascinating figure to meet and his generosity with time and story telling about his paintings and other famous artists he has met with are impressive to say the least, amusingly saying how Picasso once offered him a ride, which he was too shy to accept, but then again perhaps better to keep the myth of the artist more real. http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/nov/08/ellsworth-kelly-want-to-live-another-15-years-monograph-phaidon-tricia-paik Though the interviewer’s comment about the self-portrait holding a bugle as glimpsing his future abstract painting compositions, because of seeing a white v-neck is a bit far-fetched. He explains the meaning and the eventful outcome of the piece quite brilliantly, “The bugle was influenced by [the German expressionist] Max Beckmann,” he says. “Our teacher was German, and he invited Beckmann to come speak to us. Later on, in Paris, I showed this picture to [Fernand] Léger, and he said: this young man should go back to America and blow his bugle.” He laughs. “That wasn't kind. But he was right. I had to go my own way.” Below are a just a few sublime pieces that show his unique artistic journey that captures fleeting bold shapes and dramatic colours shifting, suspended magically in mid-air. Clearly going to France made him a better artist. The Ellsworth Kelly interview by the way, is a joy to read!
Spectrum Colours Arranged by Chance VI 1951
Broadway 1958
Awnings, Avenue Matignon 1950
Red and White 1952
Spectrum Colours Arranged by Chance II 1951
 Coloured Paper Images 1976
 Gray Curves with Brown 1976
 Brushstrokes Cut into Forty-Nine Squares and Arranged by Chance
 Seine 1951
 Sculpture for a Large Wall 1957
Red Yellow Blue 2000
All images are copyright of MOMA see more here