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Image Rights
Courtesy Walker Art Center
© Ellsworth Kelly


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Black Curve
Ellsworth Kelly
actual 42-1/8 × 34-5/8 × 1-1/16 inches
oil on canvas
Not on view

Object Details

Paintings (Paintings)
Accession Number
Physical Description
A black curve extends from the left side of the canvas covering almost all of the canvas. The TR and LR corners are not covered by the curve leaving two triangular white areas.
Credit Line
Donated by Mr. and Mrs. Edmond R. Ruben, 1995
Object Copyright
© Ellsworth Kelly

curriculum resource Ellsworth Kelly, Black Curve (1962) Walker Art Center, 2002

“If you can turn off the mind and look at things only with your eyes, ultimately everything becomes abstract.”–Ellsworth Kelly, 1992

Since very early in his career, Ellsworth Kelly’s painting, prints, drawings, and sculptures have been uncompromisingly abstract. His simple compositions often consist merely of a few hard-edged shapes and pure color, bearing little apparent resemblance to the “real” world of modulated colors and irregular forms. Yet many of his works are directly related to forms from the real world. The shape of a roof against blue sky, the shadow cast by an open barn door, the folded plastic lid of a Styrofoam coffee cup–all have served as models for his works. Although it appears completely abstract, and even unemotional, Kelly’s art is in fact dependent on his love of looking at what is in the world. According to the artist, “The things I’m interested in have always been there. The idea of a shadow of a natural object has always existed, like the shadow of the pyramids and the pyramids, or a rock and shadow; I’m not interested in the texture of the rock, or that it is a rock, but in the mass of it, and its shadow.”

Text for Ellsworth Kelly, Black Curve (1962), from the curriculum guide So, Why Is This Art?, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2002.

Copyright 2002 Walker Art Center