Art Institute of Chicago: »Ellsworth Kelly: Portrait Drawings«

Ellsworth Kelly from a different perspective

Ellsworth Kelly is considered one of the most important American artists of the postwar period. The sculptor and abstract painter also produced numerous portrait drawings known only to a few. The Art Institute of Chicago wants to change that starting July 1: It is showing nearly 100 exhibits in Ellsworth Kelly: Portrait Drawings.

July 01, 2023

Ellsworth Kelly produced his portrait drawings over a period of more than 70 years. Until now, they have rarely been seen in public and are therefore little known, despite the fact that Kelly is one of the most famous American painters of the 20th century. Whether as a soldier in World War II, by candlelight in a tent camp, in peacetime in Normandy or in Paris hotels, Kelly drew himself and other celebrities such as Robert Indiana in many imaginable situations. Some self-portraits also show only the artist's hands painting. The sitters in the early drawings, on the other hand, are often unknown. It is assumed today that Kelly was still depicting personal acquaintances at the time, which is highly unusual for the later well-known painter. Nearly 100 of the valuable drawings will be presented in the Art Institute of Chicago's exhibition Ellsworth Kelly: Portrait Drawings from July 1 to October 23.

Ellsworth Kelly (1923 − 2015) became known as the main representative of color field painting, characterized by geometric shapes and saturated colors. The drawings on display show Kelly trying out and experimenting with different styles, such as those of Max Beckmann, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse. They offer an interesting contrast to Kelly's paintings and provide insight into his view of the world. Kelly was, among other things, a participant in the Venice Biennale (1966) and represented at documenta a total of four times. He won numerous art awards, such as the 1974 Art Institute of Chicago Painting Prize.Art.Salon

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