Ellsworth Kelly pioneered an abstract aesthetic that was vital to the evolution of post-war art. Throughout a career that spanned more than 50 years, he worked independently of trends and movements and the resulting body of work is one of the major achievements of American art.
Kelly's career began in Paris, where he lived and worked from 1948-54. There he was influenced by European modernism, particularly the work of artists Jean Arp, Constantin Brancusi, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. He began to create his rigorously spare and elegant approach to abstraction, inventing a vocabulary of forms, colours, and strategies that would become the core of his practice.
For his exhibition at the Serpentine Kelly selected 18 works made since 2002, which were shown together for the first time. The works showcased the breadth of scale, colour and forms that characterise his art, including multi-panel works and reliefs in vibrant contrasting colours, as well as shaped canvases and sculpture.
Born in Newburgh, New York in 1923, Kelly lived and worked in Spencertown, New York. His work has been the subject of numerous surveys and retrospectives and his work is also represented in major museums and private collections worldwide.