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Image of Green Red-Orange

Ellsworth Kelly , (May 31, 1923–Dec 27, 2015)

Green Red-Orange

1974
42 in. x 154 in. (106.68 cm x 391.16 cm)

Medium and Support: Oil on canvas (two joined panels)
Credit Line: Gift of Frank Stella (PA 1954), Addison Art Drive
Accession Number: 1991.39

Commentary

Hard-edged, precise, and devoid of any trace of the artist’s hand, Ellsworth Kelly’s imagery is nonetheless based on things seen in the physical realm that captured the artist’s eye—plants, shadows, architectural details, and passersby. In a desire to interpret rather than describe the world around him, the artist used abstraction as a means to distill the forms and structures of the real world. In Green Red-Orange, Kelly juxtaposes two complementary colors on two joined canvases. Challenging the traditional relationship in painting between figure and ground, the two halves claim equal attention within the overall rectangular composition. Simultaneously discordant and harmonious, the contrasting colors seem to press in on one another while ultimately converging to form a sliver of quivering light that slashes the canvas and radiates outward beyond the boundaries of the work itself and into the surrounding space. Both self-contained and exuberant, Green Red-Orange is as much about the visual coupling of these two intense and vibrant colors as it is about our sensation of that interaction.

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