Abstract artist Ellsworth Kelly dies at 92 at New York home

Dec 28, 2015

Famed artist Ellsworth Kelly, known for his use of bright colors and bold shapes, died at his home in Spencertown, New York, on Sunday.

The painter died of natural causes at his home in NY, said gallery owner Matthew Marks.

Kelly and Shear lived together in their NY apartment.

Kelly was born in Newburgh, New York, in 1923 and served in the U.S. military during World War Two before studying art at Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Though he had received his first solo show at Paris’s Galerie Arnaud Lefebvre in 1951, it was his NY debut, with Betty Parsons Gallery in 1956, that launched his career.

“I think he bridged European and American modernism”, Marks said.

In 2013, Kelly was honored with the highest United States award for artistic excellence, the National Medal of Arts, which was presented to him by President Obama.

The first volume of the Ellsworth Kelly catalogue raisonné was recently released by the Cahiers d’Art.

We stood in front of one painting that he told me he hadn’t seen since he sold it to Swiss collector in 1952.

“Picasso said, ‘Do I know you?’ And his chauffeur came back; he was inviting me to come in and sit. I did a lot of white reliefs when I started because I liked antique reliefs, really old stuff”. “What I’ve tried to capture is the reality of flux, to keep art an open, incomplete situation, to get at the rapture of seeing”.

As with many in his generation, Kelly was reticent to share much about his private life (Out requested to photograph him several times over the years but the editors’ offers were politely declined).

Ellsworth Kelly died aged 92


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