Form Into Spirit: Ellsworth Kelly's Austin

Austin, the monumental last work by renowned American artist Ellsworth Kelly (1923 – 2015), is a freestanding stone building with luminous colored glass windows that is now part of the Blanton’s permanent collection. The structure has its roots in the artist’s deep appreciation of historical European art and architecture, and this exhibition explores how Austin’s conceptual origins began in the seminal period Kelly spent in France (1948-54), when he immersed himself in the country’s artistic traditions and monuments. Rarely seen early paintings and drawings fuse Judeo-Christian themes with the artist’s own modern aesthetic, making clear Austin’s decades-long germination. This section will also include the first models and designs for the building’s initial conception in the mid-1980s. Four other expansive sections will elucidate Kelly’s rich explorations of Austin’s four main motifs: Spectrum, Black and White, Color Grid, and Totem. These formal concepts were deeply meaningful to him throughout his career, and he created them in drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture.

Image Credit: 


Ellsworth Kelly

Spectrum Colors Arranged by Chance IX, 1953

collage on paper

38 1/4 x 38 1/4 inches

© Ellsworth Kelly Foundation

Photo courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

Sunday, April 29, 2018 to 12:00am

Blanton Museum of Art (BMA)
200 MARTIN LUTHER KING BLVD E, Austin, Texas 78705

Event Type

Arts & Humanities

Target Audience

General Public




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