They have never been gathered in one same exhibition: the six ‘Windows’ by American artist Ellsworth Kelly show a very peculiar period for the artist, his years spent in France. Stimulated by the hustle and bustle of the French capital that in the 50’s still includes a large quantity of artists and a phenomenal inventiveness, Ellsworth Kelly carries experiments out, draws, paints… All day long. As shows his exhibition of the fourth floor of Centre Pompidou, alongside permanent collections: six Windows made in France between 1949 and 1950 as well as paintings, drawings, sketches and photographs from the same time period.
1949 is an important year for Ellsworth Kelly: he comes to Paris a few months earlier (and stays until June 1954), after taking part in WWI. He travels throughout France, visits museums, churches… Very cultured and very curious, he starts to get interested in abstraction and slowly leaves figurative painting behind. Then, during his stay in 1949 in Belle-Île-en-Mer, he paints his first Window, Window I. He uses the geometrical structure of the window for the very first time…
In 1969, he explains: “After constructed ‘Window’ with two canvases and a wood frame I realized that from then on painting as I had known it was finished for me. The new works were to be objects, unsigned, anonymous. Everything that I saw became something to be made, and it had to be exactly as it was, with nothing added. It was a new freedom: there was no longer the need to compose. The subject was there already made, and I could take from everything. It all belonged to me: a glass roof of a factory, with its broken and patched panels, lines on a road map, a corner of a Braque painting, paper fragments in the street. It was all the same: anything goes.”
The pattern of the window will come back several times, following various techniques. The Centre Pompidou exhibition shows so and it’s fascinating: to see.
Picture: Ellsworth Kelly in his studio at the Hôtel de Bourgogne, 1949 © Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.
Ph. Courtesy Ellsworth Kelly Studio
From 27 February 2019 to 27 May 2019
75004 Paris 4
Métro ligne 11 station "Rambuteau"
tarif réduit: 11 €
tarif plein: 14 €
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Group booking (+5 people)