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Ellsworth Kelly

May 31, 1923 -


Ellsworth Kelly is an American artist who created paintings, sculptures, and prints. He was born in New York, and was interested in color and form from a young age. In his twenties, he formally began his study of art at Pratt Institute in New York City. After being drafted in World War II, he went to Europe for the first time. After the war, he lived, taught, and studied painting in Massachusetts. In 1949, he returned to France to study painting and became interested in the abstract form. He began exhibiting his work in both Paris and New York during the mid 1950s. In 1970 he moved to a farmhouse in New York, where he spent the rest of his life creating art. He was awarded many honors and had countless successful shows throughout the United States and Europe before he died in 2015 at the age of 92. The great majority of Kelly’s work is abstract, with focus on color, light, and form. He paid attention to how light hit objects and painted abstractions of what he saw. While visiting France, he was inspired by impressionist painters, especially Henri Matisse and Claude Monet. The influence of Matisse’s use of vibrant color and Monet’s keen eye for light are clearly visible in Kelly’s works. His paintings in turn influenced the boom of minimalist art.

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