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Indepth Arts News:

"Ellsworth Kelly: The Early Drawings. 1948-1955"
1999-09-11 until 1999-12-05
The Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago, IL, USA United States of America

September 11-December 5, 1999 Daylit Galleries, The Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Building Bold colors, geometric tensions, contradictions and the principles of chance govern the creations of Ellsworth Kelly, major contributor to the development of American abstract art. His current works, characterized by 50-foot monochromatic totems and large-scale panels, stand in sharp contrast to the much smaller and more complex drawings of grids, checkerboards, and patterns that characterize his early work of the late 1940s and early 1950s. This exhibition features 222 works on paper from this early period of Kelly's life, dating from 1948 to 1955. Many of the works come directly from the artist and other private collections and predate the critical acclaim which began with Kelly's first solo U.S. exhibition in 1956.

While studying in Boston and subsequently Paris, Kelly was influenced by the architectural profiles and cast shadows of buildings, arches, and bridges. De-emphasizing realistic representation, he began to develop the reduced geometric forms for which he is so well-known. Kelly allowed the laws of chance to determine colors and arrangements, after meeting Surrealist artist Jean Arp in 1950. The exhibit reflects Kelly's early development as one of this country's most influential abstract artists. The Chicago installation is curated by Mark Pascale, Assistant Curator, Department of Prints and Drawings, The Art Institute of Chicago. Sponsor: Ellsworth Kelly: The Early Drawings, 1948-1955 is organized at the Art Museums by Harry Cooper. The exhibition is made possible with support from the Alexander S. Beal, Robert L. Beal, and Bruce A. Beal Exhibition Fund, the Douglas Cramer Foundation, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, the Gürel Student Exhibition Fund, and Emily Rauh Pulitzer. Other Venues: Ellsworth Kelly will be on view at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, June 8-August 15, 1999; at Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland, January 15-March 19, 2000; Städtische Galarie in Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany, March 31-May 28, 2000; Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn, Germany, June 29-August 31, 2000. Catalogue: An exhibition catalogue, written by Yve-Alain Bois, is published in conjunction with the exhibition. It includes color reproductions of all the works in the exhibition.

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