Ellsworth Kelly (1923-2015) was an American painter, sculptor, and printmaker associated with hard-edge painting, Color Field painting, and minimalism. Kelly worked primarily with large, abstract forms of color, often on shaped canvases; drawing inspiration from real-world shapes and colors observed in plants, architecture, and shadows, as well as the negative spaces between discrete objects or architectural elements.
Kelly studied at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, from 1941 to 1943; and after two years of military service attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, from 1946 to 1948. Kelly’s first solo show in New York City was held at the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1956. Three years later, he was included in the show 16 Americans, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City. Kelly’s work has since been recognized in numerous major retrospectives, the first of which was held at MoMA in 1973; followed by retrospectives at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City (1982); the Guggenheim Museum, New York City (1996); and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City (1998); to name only a few. The artist’s work is held in many public collections, including those of the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Museo National Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; and Tate Modern, London.