On View

Yellow Blue

Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines

Yellow Blue

Artist: Ellsworth Kelly (American, 1923 - 2015)
Date: 1963
Medium: Oil on canvas
Canvas (/image): 90 × 65 in. (228.6 × 165.1 cm.)
Credit Line: Purchased with funds from the Coffin Fine Arts Trust; Nathan Emory Coffin Collection of the Des Moines Art Center, 1971.17
Accession number: 1971.17
Classification: painting
Label TextIn the late 1950s and early 60s, Hard-Edge painting became an important link between Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism, rejecting Abstract Expressionism’s expressive gestures and thick painting but retaining its allover approach with no fore- or background, qualities that would prove influential to Minimalism. Kelly was one of the leaders of this movement, creating work that explored interactions of shape and color. In Yellow Blue, the bright primary colors seem to compete for space within the rectangular frame, just as the rounded shape seems to be expanding across the canvas. The sharp lines that separate colors and Kelly’s use of geometric shapes anticipate the exacting nature of Minimalism.
SignedEK 63 (verso u,r)
Ellsworth Kelly 1963 (verso u,r on stretcher)
Inscription#311 (verso u,l on stretcher)
Exhibition History"Commitment, Community and Controversy: The Des Moines Art Center Collections," Des Moines Art Center, Jan. 24 - May 10, 1998

"The Abstract Tradition in American Art," Des Moines Art Center, Dec. 7, 1991 - Feb. 23, 1992

"American Art - Third Quarter Century," Seattle Art Museum, WA, Aug. 22 - Oct. 14, 1973

"Twenty-five Years of American Painting: 1948-1973," Des Moines Art Center, Mar. 6 - Apr. 22, 1973
Published ReferencesLaraine E. Flemming, READING FOR RESULTS, 2nd Ed., Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1983, color cover ill.

Dore Ashton, AMERICAN ART SINCE 1945, Oxford University Press, N. Y., 1982, color ill. no.55, p.87

Max Kozloff, ARTFORUM, May 1973, color ill. p.50

THE ART QUARTERLY, Vol. XXXV, No. 1, repro. p. 92

John Coplans, ELLSWORTH KELLY, Abrams, N. Y., 1973, color ill. pl. no.162

THE NATHAN EMORY COFFIN COLLECTION, a portfolio of fifty selections from the collection, published by the Des Moines Art Center to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Death of Nathan Emory Coffin, 1981, b/w ill.

"American Art - Third Quarter Century," Seattle Art Museum, Washington, 1973, exh. cat. no.31, color ill. p.65

Max Kozloff, intro., "Twenty-five Years of American Painting: 1948 - 1973," Des Moines Art Center, 1973, exh. cat. no.17, color ill. pl. no.17

AN UNCOMMON VISION: THE DES MOINES ART CENTER, Des Moines Art Center, 1998, ref. p.153, color ill. p.152

DES MOINES ART CENTER: SELECTED PAINTINGS, SCULPTURES AND WORKS ON PAPER, Des Moines Art Center, 1985, ref. p.91, color ill. pl.XV, p.111

DES MOINES REGISTER, Dec. 24, 1971, ill. p.16

DMAC Bulletin, May/June 1972, cover ill.
entirely unexpected