Ellsworth Kelly in Context
Ellsworth Kelly (American, 1923–2015), Tangerine, 1964–65, Transfer lithograph on Rives BFK paper, Norton Simon Museum, Gift of the Artist, © Ellsworth Kelly Foundation and Maeght Éditeur
- 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Explore connections between Ellsworth Kelly and other artists in the Museum’s collections, from his influences to his contemporaries and friends.
- Free with admission.
- Meets in Entrance Gallery
During World War II, a hand-picked group of American GIs undertook a bizarre mission: create a traveling road show of deception on the battlefields of Europe, with the Nazi army as their audience. The 23rd Headquarters Special Troops used inflatable rubber tanks, sound trucks and dazzling performance art to bluff the enemy again and again, often right along the front lines. This little-known unit’s knack for trickery was crucial to Allied success in World War II, but their top-secret mission was kept quiet for nearly 50 years after war’s end. Using archival footage and dozens of still photographs, paintings and sketches created by the soldiers, The Ghost Army tells the extraordinary story of these incredible battlefield illusions and the talented young men, many recruited from art schools across the country (including Ellsworth Kelly), who used their creativity to ultimately save lives. MORE INFO
As a young enlisted soldier in World War II, Ellsworth Kelly spent a brief spell in Paris. After the war, following two frustrating years at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, he returned to the French capital for a longer period. Postwar Paris offered Kelly the chance to quickly master the pictorial language of modernism, and by age 26, he had already painted his first mature works. In June 1954, he moved back to the United States, embarking on a new stylistic mode involving curvaceous planes of solid color. During a 1964 trip to Paris for an exhibition of his recent works at the Galerie Maeght, Kelly realized the two suites of lithographs displayed in Line & Color: The Nature of Ellsworth Kelly. In this lecture, Bois explores how Kelly, enjoying this third visit to France, reconnected with aesthetic ideas from his long stay years earlier. Back in America, Kelly mined his sketchbooks from 1949–54 to momentarily say farewell to curves and return to polyptychs. MORE INFO