Ellsworth Kelly in the Hamptons curated by Phyllis Tuchman
August 11 – October 8, 2018
East Hampton 2018
Ellsworth Kelly’s sabbaticals in the Hamptons during 1960 and 1961 and a few years later, during 1968 and 1969, were pivotal episodes in his career, which spanned more than six decades. While working on the East End during his late thirties and mid-forties, Kelly, one of America’s most significant abstractionists, painted two distinct bodies of work, made large sculpture, drew plants and flowers, and photographed local farmyard barns. Surprisingly, the time he spent on the easternmost stretch of Long Island has not been investigated. A black and white photograph of seven paintings seen outdoors in a rustic setting in the Springs in 1960—and published in a French exhibition catalogue—establishes what Kelly executed that year. Varied in their dimensions, singular interior shapes, and colors that are not readily associated with his oeuvre, these works by Kelly go off in a new direction from what preceded them. The same also can be said of the art he executed at the end of the nineteen sixties. Moreover, these shaped canvases appear to have been inspired by barns that the painter photographed in Southampton in 1968. Then too, his palette became bolder and more assertive, the scale of his canvases grew larger, and his preoccupation with shaping established him as a pioneer of the times.
Ellsworth Kelly in the Hamptons at Guild Hall will be on view August 11 through October 8.