Ellsworth Kelly

Ellsworth Kelly
Yellow White, 1961
Dark Gray with White Rectangle II, 1978
Green Curves, 1997
Blue Black Red Green, 2000
White Curves, 2001
Lake II, 2002
Yellow White, 1961
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Currently not on show

Ellsworth Kelly
Yellow White, 1961

Oil on canvas, 213.4 x 141.5 cm
Photo: courtesy the artist

Ellsworth Kelly is considered one of the most important yet idiosyncratic representatives of American art after 1945. The captivating effect of his works derives from the uncompromising simplicity of their visual idiom. The sharp-edged, monochrome coloured forms stand out from the walls as sculptural bodies, changing their appearance according the angle they are viewed from. They taper to a point or seem to subtly stretch or swell, depending on their colour. By functioning as a pictorial ground, as a complementary form or an intervening space, the wall is made an active component of the work and an integral part of how it is perceived. Since the 1950s, Kelly has also worked intensively with sculpture, developing it on an equal footing to his painting. With its single fold, White Curves – the white pleated sculpture standing in the Berower Park – is turned into the Fondation’s multi-perspectival ‘sail’, but it is only when the viewer walks around it that all its various facets are revealed. At the same time, its smooth, shiny surface catches the light and its surroundings in its reflection.

Dark Gray with White Rectangle II, 1978
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Currently not on show

Ellsworth Kelly
Dark Gray with White Rectangle II, 1978

Oil on canvas, two parts, 208.3 x 266.7 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

Ellsworth Kelly is considered one of the most important yet idiosyncratic representatives of American art after 1945. The captivating effect of his works derives from the uncompromising simplicity of their visual idiom. The sharp-edged, monochrome coloured forms stand out from the walls as sculptural bodies, changing their appearance according the angle they are viewed from. They taper to a point or seem to subtly stretch or swell, depending on their colour. By functioning as a pictorial ground, as a complementary form or an intervening space, the wall is made an active component of the work and an integral part of how it is perceived. Since the 1950s, Kelly has also worked intensively with sculpture, developing it on an equal footing to his painting. With its single fold, White Curves – the white pleated sculpture standing in the Berower Park – is turned into the Fondation’s multi-perspectival ‘sail’, but it is only when the viewer walks around it that all its various facets are revealed. At the same time, its smooth, shiny surface catches the light and its surroundings in its reflection.

Green Curves, 1997
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Currently not on show

Ellsworth Kelly
Green Curves, 1997

Oil on canvas, 203.2 x 174.3 cm
Photo: courtesy the artist

Ellsworth Kelly is considered one of the most important yet idiosyncratic representatives of American art after 1945. The captivating effect of his works derives from the uncompromising simplicity of their visual idiom. The sharp-edged, monochrome coloured forms stand out from the walls as sculptural bodies, changing their appearance according the angle they are viewed from. They taper to a point or seem to subtly stretch or swell, depending on their colour. By functioning as a pictorial ground, as a complementary form or an intervening space, the wall is made an active component of the work and an integral part of how it is perceived. Since the 1950s, Kelly has also worked intensively with sculpture, developing it on an equal footing to his painting. With its single fold, White Curves – the white pleated sculpture standing in the Berower Park – is turned into the Fondation’s multi-perspectival ‘sail’, but it is only when the viewer walks around it that all its various facets are revealed. At the same time, its smooth, shiny surface catches the light and its surroundings in its reflection.

Blue Black Red Green, 2000
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Currently not on show
Ellsworth Kelly
Blue Black Red Green, 2000
Oil on canvas (four panels), 254 x 1229.4 cmPhoto: courtesy the artist
Ellsworth Kelly is considered one of the most important yet idiosyncratic representatives of American art after 1945. The captivating effect of his works derives from the uncompromising simplicity of their visual idiom. The sharp-edged, monochrome coloured forms stand out from the walls as sculptural bodies, changing their appearance according the angle they are viewed from. They taper to a point or seem to subtly stretch or swell, depending on their colour. By functioning as a pictorial ground, as a complementary form or an intervening space, the wall is made an active component of the work and an integral part of how it is perceived. Since the 1950s, Kelly has also worked intensively with sculpture, developing it on an equal footing to his painting. With its single fold, White Curves – the white pleated sculpture standing in the Berower Park – is turned into the Fondation’s multi-perspectival ‘sail’, but it is only when the viewer walks around it that all its various facets are revealed. At the same time, its smooth, shiny surface catches the light and its surroundings in its reflection.
White Curves, 2001
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Currently on show at the Fondation Beyeler

Ellsworth Kelly
White Curves, 2001

Aluminium, coated with polyurethane
594.4 x 335 x 125.7 cm
Photo: Niggi Bräuning, Basel

Ellsworth Kelly is considered one of the most important yet idiosyncratic representatives of American art after 1945. The captivating effect of his works derives from the uncompromising simplicity of their visual idiom. The sharp-edged, monochrome coloured forms stand out from the walls as sculptural bodies, changing their appearance according the angle they are viewed from. They taper to a point or seem to subtly stretch or swell, depending on their colour. By functioning as a pictorial ground, as a complementary form or an intervening space, the wall is made an active component of the work and an integral part of how it is perceived. Since the 1950s, Kelly has also worked intensively with sculpture, developing it on an equal footing to his painting. With its single fold, White Curves – the white pleated sculpture standing in the Berower Park – is turned into the Fondation’s multi-perspectival ‘sail’, but it is only when the viewer walks around it that all its various facets are revealed. At the same time, its smooth, shiny surface catches the light and its surroundings in its reflection.

Lake II, 2002
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Currently not on show

Ellsworth Kelly
Lake II, 2002

Oil on canvas, 241.3 x 379.4 cm
Photo: courtesy the artist

Ellsworth Kelly is considered one of the most important yet idiosyncratic representatives of American art after 1945. The captivating effect of his works derives from the uncompromising simplicity of their visual idiom. The sharp-edged, monochrome coloured forms stand out from the walls as sculptural bodies, changing their appearance according the angle they are viewed from. They taper to a point or seem to subtly stretch or swell, depending on their colour. By functioning as a pictorial ground, as a complementary form or an intervening space, the wall is made an active component of the work and an integral part of how it is perceived. Since the 1950s, Kelly has also worked intensively with sculpture, developing it on an equal footing to his painting. With its single fold, White Curves – the white pleated sculpture standing in the Berower Park – is turned into the Fondation’s multi-perspectival ‘sail’, but it is only when the viewer walks around it that all its various facets are revealed. At the same time, its smooth, shiny surface catches the light and its surroundings in its reflection.

Ellsworth Kelly
Ellsworth Kelly
Ellsworth Kelly
Ellsworth Kelly
b. 1923, Newburgh, New York Kelly’s studies of art in Brooklyn, Boston and Paris were interrupted by military service, when he was stationed in England and France in 1944–45. Inspired by the artistic principle of chance and the collage techniques espoused by Jean Arp and Constantin Brancusi, Kelly produced his first Shaped Canvases – composite pictures assembled from several non-rectangular panels. His discovery in 1952 of Monet’s late work infused him with a new freedom of painterly expression: he began working in extremely large formats and explored the concepts of seriality and monochrome paintings. During the 1960s he started working with irregularly angled canvases and in the 1970s he added curved shapes to his repertoire. In the 1980s he exchanged his mute palette for brilliant colours and biomorphic forms. Since the 1960s Kelly has also had success as a printmaker, producing over 130 editions of prints in collaboration with the Gemini G.E.L. workshop in Los Angeles.
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