On the occasion of the exhibition Ellsworth Kelly Plant Drawings (on view June 5–September 3, 2012), the artist recorded his thoughts about various works of art in the Met's collection.
Ellsworth Kelly: We're standing in front of one of Monet's late paintings. Cézanne said Monet had a good eye, and what an eye! I like the late paintings because they're almost abstract. And he's looking at water-lily pads and grass and reflections from trees in the water.
Painting in the Renaissance and afterward was like a window where your spatial idea was always through a window at a subject. Then, with Monet, with Cézanne, they started messing up paint and bringing the attention to the surface of the painting. And you had to go up to it and see how it was done and how they did it. And I feel that in my own work, the space between the viewer and the painting is the area that I want to enliven.
Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926). Water Lilies, 1919. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Collection, Gift of Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, 1998, Bequest of Walter H. Annenberg, 2002 (1998.325.2)