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Ellsworth Kelly Prints

January 19, 2013 – April 28, 2013

installation view of an exhibition with a wall with title text that reads "Ellsworth Kelly Prints"


Ellsworth Kelly Prints is a major retrospective exhibition of the artist’s achievements in printmaking. For over fifty years, Ellsworth Kelly (b. 1923) has been recognized as a leading American painter and sculptor. His art of emphatic form and vibrant color–lyrical and serenely self-confident–is a finely wrought distillation of observed shapes in nature. Kelly has also been an ambitious printmaker, deploying his dynamic geometry of squared, angled, and curved forms to great effect in his graphic editions.

Since the early 1960s, Kelly has created over 330 editions, over one hundred of which are represented in the exhibition. Although he has explored intaglio and screenprinting methods, lithography is the medium of choice for his abstract works and also for the “plant lithographs.” Kelly’s rendering of botanical subjects with a lithographic crayon, along with his plant drawings in ink and pencil, show the artist as one of the great draftsman of our times. Kelly’s prints, no less than his paintings and sculptures, have their own distinctive voice. They register equally important aspects of his vision: intimacy, delicacy, and ethereality. Integral to the artist’s vision as a whole, they bear witness to Kelly’s commitment to the phenomenal world.

Ellsworth Kelly Prints was organized by the Los Angeles County Art Museum, where it opened (as part of Ellsworth Kelly: Prints and Paintings) in January 2012. Prints in the exhibition are drawn from the collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his family foundation. Now traveling in a national tour, it coincides with the publication of The Prints of Ellsworth Kelly, an updated and revised catalogue raisonné of the artist’s prints, prepared by Richard H. Axsom, curator at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

Ellsworth Kelly Prints was on view in the Museum’s main galleries.

Exhibition Support

Support for Ellsworth Kelly Prints and related educational and outreach programs has been made possible by a grant from the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.

Generous support for the Wisconsin presentation of Ellsworth Kelly Prints has been provided by the Madison Print Club; Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C.; Gina and Michael Carter; Gabriele Haberland and Willy Haeberli; Hooper Corp./General Heating and Air Conditioning; Associated Bank; Staff Electric Co., Inc.