Ellsworth Kelly



In 42nd Street, Elsworth Kelly, who at that time was living in New York, painted an abstracted version of one of Manhattan's major cross-town streets or one of its elements, possibly an architectural detail—the space between buildings, or the shadows cast by skyscrapers. Kelly was sensitive to his surroundings, and with a keen artistic eye was able to capture a visual fragment and distill it into pure colors and forms. He declared: “The most pleasurable thing in the world, for me, is to see something, and then translate how I see it.” The black portion of 42nd Street assumes an independent existence, liberating itself from the ground and becoming form. Originally inspired by the outside world, the shape is presented as a separate, fully formed entity. Such simplification of nature was inspired by the art of Jean Arp, Constantin Brancusi, and Alexander Calder.

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Artist Ellsworth Kelly
Date 1958
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 153.7 x 203.2 cm
Credit line Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, Hannelore B. and Rudolph B. Schulhof Collection, bequest of Hannelore B. Schulhof, 2012
Accession 2012.68
Collection Schulhof Collection
Type Painting

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