Ellsworth Kelly (1923-2015) is an important American abstract painter and a pioneering figure of Minimalist art, hard-edge painting, and Color Field painting, although he has managed to avoid being defined fully by any of these movements. Working across disciplines, his practice includes painting, sculpture, and printmaking.
Kelly graduated from Pratt Institute in 1942 and continued his studies at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston school between 1946 and 1948. In 1943, he entered the military and assigned to the camouflage unit, which has influenced his work both in precision and imagery. Beginning in the late 1940s, Kelly explored drawings of foliage using basic line and form. Printmaking didn’t become a major part of his practice until the 1964. Early lithographs included plant and floral imagery, while recent prints include abstracted bodies of water as subject matter.
Kelly’s work has been the subject of major exhibitions at dOCUMENTA (III, IV, VI, and IX), Kassel; Venice Biennale (1966 and 2007); The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia; Fondation Beyeler, Basel; Haus der Kunst, Munich; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum Wiesbaden, DE; Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; Serpentine Gallery, London; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. His work is included in major public collections, among them the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Tate Modern, London.