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Colors for a Large Wall

Colors for a Large Wall

By Jodi Hauptman

Over the course of seven decades, the American artist Ellsworth Kelly produced a vast body of work—paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, and even an architectural commission—devoted to the investigation of shape and color. His landmark 1951 painting Colors for a Large Wall was the culmination of an extraordinarily productive moment in Kelly’s early career, a time when he developed a singular form of abstraction. After serving in the US Army during World War II, he returned to France in 1948, courtesy of the GI Bill, and lived and worked there until 1954. Connecting with artists of an earlier generation, discovering Paris with his peers, and surveying monuments of the past, Kelly began an audacious journey in which, paradoxically, he sought to eliminate “invention” from the process of making art. Curator Jodi Hauptman traces the evolution of Colors for a Large Wall, unpacking Kelly’s toolbox and illuminating his dedication to close looking, his embrace of chance, and his ambition to create art on a public scale. 48 pp.; 37 illus.

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