Ellsworth Kelly

42nd

1958

In 42nd Street Kelly, who was living in Manhattan at the time, painted an abstracted version of one of the city’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 is sensitive to his surroundings, and with a keen artistic eye catches a visual fragment and distills it into pure colors and forms. Kelly declared: “The most pleasurable thing in the world, for me, is to see something, and then translate how I see it.” The black in 42nd Street assumes an independent existence, liberating itself from the ground and becoming a form. Originally drawn from the outside world, the shape returns to it as a separate fully formed entity. Such simplification of nature was inspired by the art of Jean Arp, Constantin Brancusi and Alexander Calder.

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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