Blue Green Black Red 1989
Painted aluminum
Each panel: 120 x 14¾ inches; 305 x 38 cm
Overall: 120 x 110¾ inches; 305 x 281 cm

In a letter to John Cage in 1950, Kelly declared his wish to make paintings that would not just hang on the wall as pictures: “they should be the wall,” he wrote, “even better–on the outside wall–of large buildings.” It would not be until 1978 that Kelly would be commissioned to create the work Color Panels for a Large Wall, which filled the bank lobby of the Central Trust Center in Cincinnati.

<p>Installation of <em>Color Panels for a Large Wall</em> (1978) at the Central Trust Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, March 1979</p>

Installation of Color Panels for a Large Wall (1978) at the Central Trust Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, March 1979

It would take another decade for Kelly to be approached by I.M. Pei to create a work for the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas. Four 34-foot high, 4-feet wide panels perfectly fill the limestone-clad atrium wall, which Kelly treats as both a frame and a canvas for his painted aluminum panels.

<p><em>Dallas Panels (Blue Green Black Red)</em> (1989) at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas</p>

Dallas Panels (Blue Green Black Red) (1989) at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas

Blue Green Black Red was made in the same year as the Dallas Panels and in the same material and color sequence. It was first exhibited in October 2003 in the inaugural exhibition of the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas and then a year later in Ellsworth Kelly in Dallas at the Dallas Museum of Art, which stands across the street from the symphony. It is fitting that the work would be exhibited first in Texas as the curator Charles Wylie recalls that “Kelly slyly remarked that all the colors represented things present in Texas when he was working on the commission in the early 1990s: sky, land, oil, and fire.”