Ellsworth Kelly (b. 1923), American minimalist painter and sculptor, abstracts his surroundings into essential shapes, planes of color, and empty space. After studying at the Pratt Institute in New York, he was deployed in France during World War II, commencing a fascination with Paris and European artists that he continued a few years after the war ended. While in France, he surrounded himself with like-minded artists such as Alexander Calder and began developing his iconic style through paintings and collages “that were arranged according to the laws of chance.” Also included in his European years were multiple canvases of single colors. He returned to the United States in 1954 and gained immediate success at New York gallery shows where he exhibited his geometric, minimalist paintings and totemic sculptures. In 1973, Kelly earned his first retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. From there, his sculptures, public commissions, and paintings were featured in various European exhibitions. Having enjoyed retrospectives at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Tate Modern in London, Kelly continues to live and work at his studio in upstate New York.
“Ellsworth Kelly.” Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Guggenheim.org, 2011. Web. 15 Nov. 2011.