Ellsworth Kelly. Shapes and Colors, 1949-2015

Exhibition From 04.05.2024 to 09.09.2024

Gianfranco Gorgoni, Ellsworth Kelly avec Yellow with Red Triangle (1973) et Blue with Black Triangle (vers 1973) dans son atelier de Cady’s Hall ©️ Maya Gorgoni, Ellsworth Kelly Foundation

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To celebrate the centenary of the artist’s birth, “Ellsworth Kelly. Shapes and Colors, 1949-2015” will be the first exhibition in France to offer a broad overview of the work of this significant artist of the second half of the 20th century - both in terms of its chronology and in terms of the media on display. Organized with Glenstone Museum (Potomac, Maryland) and in collaboration with the Ellsworth Kelly Studio, the exhibition brings together more than 100 works: paintings and sculptures as well as drawings, photographs and collages. The exhibition has been supported by loans from international institutions (the Art Institute of Chicago, Kröller-Müller Museum, Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Tate, Whitney Museum) as well as private collections.

Ellsworth Kelly is regarded as one of the most significant American abstract painters and sculptors. His career, which spanned seven decades, was marked by his artistic independence from any school or movement, and by his groundbreaking contributions to 20th century painting and sculpture.

Simultaneously, the Fondation will present "Matisse, The Red Studio" exhibition.
(Single ticket giving access to exhibitions and the whole building).

Kelly drew inspiration from nature and the world around him to create a singular style which revitalized abstraction in the 20th and 21st centuries. Ten years after his passing, his works still elicit the same fascination, well beyond the habitual boundaries of painting. Fondation has the opportunity to witness this every day: its Auditorium houses the final work ever to have been commissioned from the artist. Designed in a dialogue with the elements of Frank Gehry’s architecture, it extends from the stage curtain (Spectrum VIII) to the walls of the concert hall, which are lifted and animated by a series of red, yellow, blue, green and violet monochromes.

Ellsworth Kelly, Yellow Curve, 1990

© Ellsworth Kelly Foundation Crédit photographique : Courtesy Glenstone Museum, Potomac, Maryland, © Ron Amstutz

The exhibition “Ellsworth Kelly. Shapes and Colors, 1949-2015” traces the artist’s exploration of the relationship between shape, color, line and space through key works from pivotal periods in his career.

The range of works, presented on two floors of the building and across nearly 1,500 square meters, urges the viewer to overlook the deceptive simplicity of Ellsworth Kelly’s artistic vocabulary and to appreciate a body of works that features surprising vitality and richness. Often monochrome, and seemingly rigid in their composition, these works don’t emerge from a system or from adherence to particular rules. They are the result of a visual quest in which shapes and colors go hand in hand with hedonism.

Presented in the Fondation’s ground and first floors, the exhibition includes around 100 works from the collections of the Glenstone Museum, the Fondation major international museums, particularly the Centre Pompidou, Art Institute of Chicago, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Kröller-Müller Museum (The Netherlands), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Tate (London), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York). Major works have also been generously loaned by the Ellsworth Kelly Studio and by private collections.

The exhibited works cover the wide range of media used by the artist: from painting to sculpture to works on paper - collage and photography. Exhibition highlights include paintings from the artist’s youth, such as Tableau Vert (1952) - the first monochrome made after Ellsworth Kelly’s visit to Giverny - or Painting in Three Panels (1956), a key example of the painter’s commitment to architecture. These early works are exhibited ahead of examples from the now canonical Chatham and Spectrum series. Prominently featured are a selection of drawings of plants produced throughout the artist’s career, as well as a collection of rarely exhibited photographs.

Striking works in the exhibition include Yellow Curve (1990), the first in a series of large-scale floor paintings by Ellsworth Kelly, displayed in a specially-designed space. The installation, which extends over more than 60 square meters, is the first presentation in Europe of Yellow Curve since its creation in 1990 for an exhibition in Portikus, Frankfurt am Main.

Another monumental work - a permanent one in this case - is the commission completed in 2014 by Ellsworth Kelly for Fondation’s Auditorium, in a dialogue with the architect Frank Gehry. Integrated in the exhibition, it will be presented to viewers in a documentary room that looks back on this project and its inclusion in the artist’s oeuvre.

The exhibition “Ellsworth Kelly. Shapes and Colors, 1949-2015” is presented as part of “Ellsworth Kelly at 100,” a travelling exhibition organized by Glenstone Museum (Potomac, Maryland) where it is held until March 17, 2024. The French version of the exhibition has been adapted especially in light of Ellsworth Kelly’s contribution to the Fondation's Auditorium. After Paris, where Ellsworth Kelly developed some of his most radical ideas as a young artist, a new presentation will be held at M7 in Doha (Qatar), marking the first exhibition of the artist’s work in the Middle East.

Curators:

This exhibition is organized with Glenstone Museum, Potomac, Maryland, United States in collaboration with the Ellsworth Kelly Studio in the context of “Ellsworth Kelly at 100”

Head curator

Suzanne Pagé, Artistic Director of the Fondation Louis Vuitton

Curators

Emily Wei Rales, Nora Severson Cafritz, Yuri Stone

Curator for the presentation in Paris

Olivier Michelon, assisted by Clotilde Monroe

Les outils de visite

Short Tours

Led by specialised guides, micro-tours are a chance to discover slowly the exhibition. Designed to be enjoyed either alone or in a small group, these tours are the perfect introduction. In weekdays and weekends, every 30 minutes.

FLV APP

The Fondation app offers families to share a moment with their children by following the "Interactive Family Journey" on Ellsworth Kelly, through interactive activities and fun anecdotes.

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