Ellsworth Kelly is credited with inventing a new kind of painting, one inspired by nature but also by the chance compositions he encountered in the world. He started taking photographs in 1950, using a borrowed Leica to “make notations of things I had seen and subjects I had been drawing.” Unlike his sketches and collages, the photographs were not part of his process of making a painting or sculpture; they were simply a record of his vision. As such, they convey his enthusiasm for the visible world around him—the compositional possibilities to be found in a barn roof, for example, or a tree branch.
Featuring photographs spanning four decades, this is the first book ever published on Kelly’s photography, and the artist was closely involved in all aspects of its making. In the statement that begins the book, he writes, “When you look at the world, everything is separate—each thing is in its own space, has its own uniqueness. When I take photographs, I want somehow to capture that.”
Ellsworth Kelly (born in Newburgh, New York, 1923; died in Spencertown, New York, 2015) moved to France in 1949 and came into contact with a wide range of classical and modern art. His first exhibition in New York was held at the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1956, and the Museum of Modern Art organized his first retrospective in 1973. Subsequent surveys have taken place at museums around the world, including at the Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Gallery, London; Haus der Kunst, Munich.