Glenstone Museum celebrates Ellsworth Kelly’s centennial
POTOMAC, Md. – To mark the centennial of artist Ellsworth Kelly (American, 1923-2015), Glenstone Museum will mount a major survey exhibition commemorating the artist’s seven-decade career. Ellsworth Kelly at 100 will be one of the largest retrospectives of Kelly’s work in the 21st century and the first traveling exhibition organized by Glenstone. It will open on May 4 and remain on view until March of 2024.
Ellsworth Kelly drew inspiration from nature and the world around him to create a singular style that shaped American abstraction in the 20th and 21st centuries. The comprehensive presentation will chart the artist’s lifelong exploration of the relationship between form, color, line and space through key works drawn from pivotal periods in his career, several of which will be shown in public for the first time.
The exhibition will feature almost 70 works drawn from Glenstone’s collection and those of major international museum lenders, including Centre Pompidou, Paris; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Rijksmuseum Kroller-Muller, the Netherlands; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Major works have also generously been made available from the Ellsworth Kelly Studio and private collections.
Works on view will span the wide range of media in which the artist worked, from painting and sculpture to works on paper, collage and photography. Highlights include formative early paintings such as Painting for a White Wall from 1952, a groundbreaking work composed of joined monochromatic panels, and 1956’s Painting in Three Panels, a key example of Kelly’s engagement with architecture. These early works, drawn from Glenstone’s collection, will be on view alongside examples from the now-canonical Chatham and Spectrum series. A selection of the plant drawings Kelly created throughout his career will feature prominently, alongside a selection of rarely exhibited photographs.
The show will continue in Room 6 of the Pavilions where Kelly’s 1990 piece Yellow Curve, the first work in his series of large-scale floor-based paintings, will be displayed in a custom-designed space. Encompassing more than 600 square feet, the installation will mark the first time Yellow Curve has been exhibited since the artist conceived it in 1990 for an exhibition at Portikus in Frankfurt am Main.
Emily Wei Rales, director and co-founder of Glenstone, said, “Ellsworth Kelly’s vision for art can teach us so much about looking deeply at the world and translating what we see into its immediate visual components. As a lover of nature, Ellsworth’s quiet and practiced eye created paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings and collages that are as rewarding and challenging on the fiftieth encounter as they are on the first.”
After its run at Glenstone, the exhibition will travel to Paris, France, where Kelly developed some of his most radical ideas as a young artist, to be displayed at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in the spring of 2024, in a presentation unique to the Frank Gehry-designed museum. In the fall of 2024, the presentation will open at the Fire Station in Doha, Qatar, marking the first show of the artist’s work in the region.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog co-published by Glenstone, the Fondation Louis Vuitton and the Fire Station, with contributions from Alex Da Corte, Suzanne Hudson and Corey Keller. A schedule of public programs presented in conjunction with the exhibition will be announced at a later date.
Visit the website for Glenstone Museum and see its dedicated page for Ellsworth Kelly at 100.