Ellsworth Kelly


(b. 1923) U.S. painter and sculptor. In 1948 the G.I. bill allowed him to travel to Paris, where he was exposed to various avant-garde developments. By 1949 he made his first completely abstract painting; he would create abstract work throughout his career. Kelly moved back to the U.S. in 1954. By the end of the decade he became a leading exponent of the hard-edge style of painting, in which abstract contours and large areas of flat colour are sharply and precisely defined. Influenced by the biomorphic abstractions of Jean Arp and the paper cutouts of Henri Matisse, he used the clean geometric lines of his paintings in painted, cut-out sheet-metal sculptures. Kelly refined his pursuit of pure style throughout the late 20th century, eventually also pursuing printmaking and large-scale public sculpture.