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Ellsworth Kelly, known as one of America’s greatest 20th century abstract artists died on Sunday at the age of 92. His death was announced by Matthew Marks of the Matthew Marks Gallery in Manhattan.

Winner of America’s National Medal of the Arts, Kelly was perhaps best known for his rigorously independent form of Abstraction. Speaking in 2013 about a burst of new paintings, the Tate London’s director, Nicholas Serota, bracketed Kelly with two other nonagenarians at the tops of their games: Matisse in 1949 and Picasso in1971.

Early in his career Kelly spent six years (1948–1954) in France, where he discovered the late work of the impressionist painter Claude Monet (1840–1926). Visits to the remote island of Belle-Île off the coast of Brittany in 1949 and a visit to Monet’s house and studio in Giverny in 1952 inspired a series of drawings and Kelly’s first monochrome work, Tableau Vert (1952, Art Institute of Chicago).

Kelly returned to France in 1965, 2000, and 2005, visiting Belle-Île again as well as Provence. He continued to draw motifs depicted by Monet, as well as by Paul Cézanne and Henri Matisse. Kelly was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1988, Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur in 1993 and Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres in 2002, as recognition of his close relationship with France.

 

Screen Shot 2015 12 28 at 09.37.14White Curves (2002), made of white aluminium, in the garden of the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen, Switzerland - Image Wikipedia

Here is a Youtube Video of Ellsworth Kelly in conversation with Agnes Gund President Emirita of the Museum of Modern Art (Moma).

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