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Blue on White

1961 Ellsworth Kelly Born: Newburgh, New York 1923 oil on canvas 85 5/8 x 67 3/4 in. (217.5 x 172.1 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. 1969.47.63 Smithsonian American Art Museum
3rd Floor, East Wing


Gallery Label

Kelly's paintings preserve and intensify his memories of things seen swiftly, the fragmented glimpses of "leaves, grass, [and] cracks in the wall." Blue on White is both lyrical and forceful, a huge painting that feels very delicate. At first, the loopy blue shape seems to dominate the white background. But just as quickly, the angular edges of the white appear to cut into the billowy blue. Kelly isn’t interested in assigning meaning to his works. The artist would rather create colors and shapes so intense that they are like three-dimensional objects, and, as he once said, "To hell with pictures."

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006

Keywords

Abstract

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

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