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Artists' Perspectives: Ellsworth Kelly on his painting Blue Panel

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: On this blue painting is a shape containing four outside lines. Some of the lines are parallel with the floor and some are diagonal. And I think that it's a shape which I think contains a personality of some sort. Because it pleases me.

I met someone once on an airplane. We started talking, and I started talking about painting.

He said, "You know, I go to the Met a lot and I look at paintings. And there's one painting that really throws me. It's a large blue painting with nothing on it."

And I said, "That's mine." I said, "Go look at it again. Go look at my other paintings."

Because I think my paintings are like objects to investigate. It's something that . . . you learn the shape, and you learn because there's nothing else there but the shape and the color.

I think that shapes have their own meaning. And people usually look at art trying to answer the question, "What is it? Why is it?" And my response is always, "Look at it, and look at it again, and just how does it make you feel?"

Ellsworth Kelly (American, born 1923). Blue Panel, 1977. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Anonymous Gift, 1986 (1986.419.1)

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