Blue Panel II

Ellsworth Kelly American

Not on view

After serving in the U.S. Army in World War II, Kelly took advantage of the G.I. Bill to study in Paris, where he immersed himself in the work of prominent European abstract artists. As Blue Panel II suggests, he treated color and shape in his painting as synonymous and integral to each other, in keeping with a prevalent midcentury philosophy that illusionism was a denial of paint’s flat essence. Kelly’s conflation of shape and color is especially evident in his inventive exploration of the shaped canvas—in this case, a trapezoid that is nearly a parallelogram. This design is based on collages he made on postcard views of the island of Saint Martin, which may account for the painting’s seductive blue, evocative of sky and water.

#9509. Blue Panel

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Blue Panel II, Ellsworth Kelly (American, Newburgh, New York 1923–2015 Spencertown, New York), Oil on canvas

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