PRINT Summer 1969

The Earlier Work of Ellsworth Kelly

THE MORPHOLOGY OF ELLSWORTH KELLY’S ART remains virtually unknown. Almost exclusively such critical discussion of his art that has taken place has been based on the body of single image, neo-biomorphic and heraldic paintings exhibited subsequent to his return to New York in 1954 at Betty Parsons Gallery (and also in London and Paris). His early work has only recently been randomly exposed; consequently, critical discussion of Kelly’s art invariably lacks a coherent structure, or presents a wholly incomplete picture of his accomplishment. For the most part, it has been taken for granted that the spectrum, modular, serial and illusionistic paintings exhibited at the Sidney Janis Gallery since 1965 are wholly recent developments, engendered—at least in some measure—by the changing climate of the art of the sixties. In actual fact, however, a relatively unknown body of paintings, reliefs,

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