Blue/Black/Red/Green, 2001 by Ellsworth Kelly
Blue/Black/Red/Green, 2001; Lithograph on Lanaquarelle 640 gram paper; Numbered 26/45 and signed Kelly in pencil lower right; Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles; Publisher's blind stamp lower right; Catalog Raisonne: Axsom 293; Size - Sheet 25 x 88 3/4", Frame 29 x 93"; Framed with a white wood frame floated on an acid free white mat, and plexiglass.
"I have worked to free shape from its ground, and then to work the shape so that it has a definite relationship to the space around it; so that it has a clarity and a measure within itself of its parts (angles, curves, edges, and mass); and so that, with color and tonality, the shape finds its own space and always demands its freedom and separateness." - Ellsworth Kelly
Ellsworth Kelly was an American painter, sculptor, and printmaker who was associated with Hard-Edge painting, Color Field, and Minimalism. He is one of the 20th century's greatest and most influential artists, and his work hangs in the world's finest museum's permanent collections.
Despite Kelly being associated with Minimalism, he did not view himself as a minimalist at all; but rather a figure to ground and a color interaction painter. Ellsworth Kelly's works do have a life model, and unlike Ad Reinhardt, Josef Albers, or Barnett Newman; Kelly derives his forms from nature and his surroundings. Photographs taken by Kelly in France as early as 1949 show the casting of shadow and light over surfaces of Parisian architecture; and it was these photographs that served as references for his paintings at the time. The forms, derived from shadows or just small sections of trees or buildings, are then edited and isolated into regular and/or irregular geometric shapes. Kelly then paints these forms choosing specific colors to isolate the form, and in some cases relates them to other colored forms within the composition.
Blue/Black/Red/Green, 2001 is both a color interaction and a figure to ground work. The light values of each of the four colors are chosen specifically by Kelly; as is the orientation, scale, size, and form. Any modification of the parameters of the composition alters the experience. For example, if you inverse the work with green on the left and blue on the right, the color interaction is now different. The effect would also be altered if blue were next to black as compared to blue adjacent to green; or if one of the forms were closer to another. The work also has a figure (blue, black, red, and green forms) and ground (white paper) relationship. At first glance the forms appear flat and stagnant, however the size and shape of the forms is the same, each just being slightly rotated on it's three dimensional axes thus giving the work depth of field. The four colored forms float above the ground and there is a mood that is created. The result of viewing this work is the realization that this is a specific and elegant composition, created with the intent of invoking both a feeling and mood. The composition does not have to be objects that are recognizable in order to have a subject, and that subject can be an emotion, state of existence, and/or a response.
Blue/Black/Red/Green, 2001 is a large and exceptional work by Ellsworth Kelly, and would be a great addition to any modern fine art collection!