Matthew Marks Gallery

Plant Drawings


Clothbound with jacket
72 pages
33 images
11½ × 9½ inches; 29 × 24 cm
ISBN 9781944929091

2nd edition (printed in 2019)

Ellsworth Kelly’s plant drawings played a central role in his art. “The drawings from plant life seem to be the bridge to the way of seeing that brought about the paintings in 1949 that are the basis for all my later work,” Kelly wrote in 1969. “They are exact observations of the form of the leaf or flower or fruit seen. Nothing is changed or added: no shading, no surface marking.”

This catalogue features over thirty drawings made between 1949 and 2008, all published here for the first time. Kelly drew them from life, sometimes barely lifting the pencil as he translated each plant’s contours to paper. Despite the immediacy of their execution, the drawings share a great deal with his paintings and sculptures — not only in their focus on direct visual impressions but also in their fascination with the effects of negative space and overlapping planes.