Matthew Marks Gallery

Ellsworth Kelly

Ellsworth Kelly’s innovations of the late 1940s and early 1950s helped reshape abstract art for decades. His development of the monochrome and the multi-panel painting, his devotion to integral forms, and his use of chance and seriality would prove central to painting’s break with expressionism in the 1960s. But his approach to abstraction was also utterly unique, grounded in particulars rather than universals. His use of found compositions — the fold of a cigarette packet or the contour of a grape leaf — opened a new horizon of possibilities: “Everywhere I looked, everything I saw became something to be made, and it had to be made exactly as it was, with nothing added.”

Over the course of a seven-decade career, Kelly translated these found compositions into paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, and photographs whose visual power transcended movements. The consistency of his artistic vision ensured that each work was immediately recognizable as his own, even when he experimented with new forms and materials.

Using the same rigor with which he translated his observations of the world (art historian Richard Shiff has called them “fragments of visual experience”), Kelly often returned to his earlier works and sketches. The immediacy of his sensory intuition, combined with his diligent translation of it, enabled him to keep making innovative work throughout his long career. As John Coplans explained in 1969, “since Kelly rarely abandons an idea — his system is incredibly open — he will permit a nascent or embryonic idea to mature without urgency.” This slow gestation helps explain one of contemporary art’s most consistently surprising bodies of work.

Ellsworth Kelly (1923–2015) was born in Newburgh, New York. In 1948 he moved to France, where he came into contact with a wide range of classical and modern art. He returned to New York in 1954 and two years later had his first exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery. The Museum of Modern Art in New York organized his first retrospective in 1973. Subsequent exhibitions have been held at museums around the world, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, Haus der Kunst in Munich, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Selected Works

Exhibitions

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Blue Green Black Red

May 6–June 25, 2022

522 West 22nd Street
523 West 24th Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Postcards

May 6–June 25, 2022

526 West 22nd Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Blue Curve

September 16–October 10, 2020

Online

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Color Panels for a Large Wall

November 3, 2018–January 19, 2019

522 West 22nd Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Last Paintings

May 5–June 24, 2017

522 West 22nd Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Plant Drawings

May 5–June 24, 2017

526 West 22nd Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Photographs

February 26–April 30, 2016

523 West 24th Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY

May 13–June 20, 2015

522 West 22nd Street
523 West 24th Street
526 West 22nd Street
502 West 22nd Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
At Ninety

May 11–June 29, 2013

522 West 22nd Street
523 West 24th Street
502 West 22nd Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Los Angeles

January 20–April 14, 2012

1062 North Orange Grove
Los Angeles

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Reliefs 2009–2010

February 12–April 16, 2011

522 West 22nd Street
523 West 24th Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Diagonal

February 6–April 25, 2009

522 West 22nd Street
523 West 24th Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Drawings 1954–1962

February 6–April 25, 2009

526 West 22nd Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
New Paintings

November 11, 2006–January 27, 2007

522 West 22nd Street
523 West 24th Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Drawings on a BusSketchbook 23, 1954

November 11, 2006–January 27, 2007

526 West 22nd Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Self-Portrait Drawings 1944–1992

May 10–June 28, 2003

529 West 21st Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Recent Painting and Sculpture

May 10–June 28, 2003

522 West 22nd Street
523 West 24th Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Relief Paintings

May 12–June 29, 2001

522 West 22nd Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Gray 1975–77

May 12–August 17, 2001

523 West 24th Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Drawings 1960–1962

March 27–May 17, 1999

523 West 24th Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Sculpture for a Large Wall, 1957

May 2–June 20, 1998

522 West 22nd Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
New Paintings

May 2–June 20, 1998

523 West 24th Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
An Installation, Seven New Paintings

October 17, 1996–January 19, 1997

522 West 22nd Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Recent Paintings

October 29, 1994–January 29, 1995

522 West 22nd Street
New York

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Plant Drawings

October 14–November 28, 1992

1018 Madison Avenue
New York

Group Exhibitions

ONE HUNDRED DRAWINGS

November 8, 2019–January 18, 2020

523 West 24th Street
New York

ROSEBUD

July 13–August 24, 2019

1062 North Orange Grove
7818 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles

VIJA CELMINS, THOMAS DEMAND, ELLSWORTH KELLY, KEN PRICE, PAUL SIETSEMA, REBECCA WARREN, TERRY WINTERS

February 6–April 16, 2016

522 West 22nd Street
New York

10 SCULPTURES

July 11–August 29, 2015

1062 North Orange Grove
7818 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles

ARTISTS FOR ARTISTS
51st Anniversary Exhibition to Benefit the Foundation for Contemporary Arts

December 13, 2014–January 10, 2015

526 West 22nd Street
New York

A DRAWING SHOW

October 4–November 29, 2014

526 West 22nd Street
New York

SCULPTURE
Katharina Fritsch, Robert Gober, Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Martin Puryear, Charles Ray

February 8–April 19, 2014

523 West 24th Street
New York

THE FOUNDATION FOR ART AND PRESERVATION IN EMBASSIES'
Lee Kimche McGrath Original Print Collection

October 6–October 13, 2012

7818 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles

PAINTING: NOW AND FORVER, PART II

July 3–August 15, 2008

522 West 22nd Street
New York

FIVE WORKS IN BRONZE

November 3, 2007–January 12, 2008

523 West 24th Street
New York

SMALL SCULPTURE

September 23–October 28, 2006

523 West 24th Street
New York

RECENT DRAWINGS
Robert Gober, Roni Horn, Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Brice Marden, Ken Price, Charles Ray, Terry Winters

January 14–February 25, 2006

523 West 24th Street
New York

SCULPTURE
Darren Almond, Peter Fischli David Weiss, Katharina Fritsch, Robert Gober, Donald Judd, Ellsworth Kelly, Ugo Rondinone, Tony Smith

September 20–November 1, 2003

522 West 22nd Street
New York

100 DRAWINGS AND PHOTOGRAPHS
Tenth Anniversary Exhibition

November 3–December 22, 2001

523 West 24th Street
New York

DRAWINGS AND PHOTOGRAPHS
Foundation for Contemporary Performing Arts Benefit Exhibition

December 8–December 23, 2000

522 West 22nd Street
New York

WILLEM DE KOONING, PETER FISCHLI DAVID WEISS, LUCIAN FREUD, KATHARINA FRITSCH, RONI HORN, ELLSWORTH KELLY, BRICE MARDEN

September 25–November 27, 1999

522 West 22nd Street
New York

OPEN SECRETS
Seventy Pictures on Paper, 1815 to the Present

November 19–December 28, 1996

523 West 24th Street
New York

ARTISTS’ SKETCHBOOKS

March 20–May 4, 1991

1018 Madison Avenue
New York

Books

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Color Panels for a Large Wall

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Last Paintings

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Plant Drawings

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Photographs

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Outside In

ELLSWORTH KELLY
New York Drawings 1954–1962

ELLSWORTH KELLY
At Ninety

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Los Angeles

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Reliefs 2009–2010

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Diagonal

ELLSWORTH KELLY
1954 Drawings on a Bus, Sketchbook 23

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Matrix

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Self-Portrait Drawings 1944–1992

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Relief Paintings 1954–2001

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Drawings 1960–1962

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Sculpture for a Large Wall, 1957

ELLSWORTH KELLY
A Retrospective

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Spencertown

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Plant Drawings

ONE HUNDRED DRAWINGS

100 DRAWINGS AND PHOTOGRAPHS
Tenth Anniversary Exhibition

OPEN SECRETS
Seventy Pictures on Paper, 1815 to the Present

ARTISTS’ SKETCHBOOKS

Posters

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Gray

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Sculpture for a Large Wall

ELLSWORTH KELLY
Seven New Paintings

out of print

PAINTING: NOW AND FORVER, PART II

Current Museum Exhibitions