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Molly Warnock

Ellsworth Kelly, Painting for a White Wall, 1952, oil on canvas, five joined panels, 23 1/2 × 71 1/4". © Ellsworth Kelly.

Yve-Alain Bois, Ellsworth Kelly: Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Reliefs, and Sculpture, Volume One, 1940–1953. Paris: Cahiers d’Art, 2015. 383 pages.

LIKE MOST READERS, presumably, I come to this impressive tome—Yve-Alain Bois’s first installment in what promises to be a six-volume set—already in the author’s debt. For nearly a quarter century, beginning with his 1992 essay “Ellsworth Kelly in France: Anti-Composition in Its Many Guises,” the esteemed art historian has set the standard for scholarship on Kelly’s expansive oeuvre. Focusing in particular on the artist’s decisive early work abroad, he has ingeniously illuminated the system through which Kelly created his iconic abstractions for more than six decades. Now Bois brings us the definitive reference on the artist’s beginnings, from his first forays into painting through his student years in Boston to his prodigious

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