Blue and Orange and Green

Blue and Orange and Green
Ellsworth Kelly (American, 1923-2015)
Lithograph on Rives BFK paper 
35-3/8 x 23-7/8 in. (89.9 x 60.6 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of the Artist 
Accession Number:
© Ellsworth Kelly Foundation 
Not on View

Ellsworth Kelly is one of the progenitors of twentieth-century modernism because of his concise use of color, form and line. In 1964, Kelly was in Paris for his solo paintings show at Galerie Maeght, whose co-owners, Aimé and Marguerite Maeght, were also publishers of fine art books and prints. Upon their prompting, Kelly made his first foray into the medium of prints and multiples with two series of lithographs—Suite of Twenty-Seven Color Lithographs and Suite of Plant Lithographs. Thus began Kelly’s relationship with lithography that lasted decades.

Blue and Orange and Green, from the first suite, was printed at Imprimerie Maeght under the supervision of Marcel Durassier and published in early 1965. Kelly began his Suite of Plant Lithographs while in Paris; Oranges, however, was drawn directly on transfer paper without preliminary sketches after he had already left Paris for New York City. Kelly later returned to Paris with his plant suite drawings to be printed at Imprimerie Arte—the newly opened print shop owned by Adrien Maeght, son of Aimé and Marguerite.

These two prints, created within two years of each other, represent the essential aspects of Kelly’s oeuvre: color, line, form and shape. Add color to circles and you have forms; add abscission scars to circular lines and you have oranges.

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