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INDEPENDENT | Maverick Ellsworth Kelly at the Hyde Collection

INDEPENDENT | Maverick Ellsworth Kelly at the Hyde Collection

Ellsworth Kelly "in 1955 with first three paintings done in New York City at Broad Street Studio." Caption and photo by @ellsworthkellystudio

The Hyde Collection, an art museum located in Glens Falls, Upstate New York, is currently displaying two exhibitions featuring the works of Ellsworth Kelly.

Kelly is acknowledged as one of the most important American artists of the latter half of the 20th Century and one we here at New York Makers had the privilege of interviewing before he passed away in 2015.


Born in Newburgh, New York, he studied art at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn before joining the U. S. Army in 1943. He served in the armed services until 1945. During World War II, he worked with other artists and designers in “the Ghost Army”, a unit of the military preoccupied with creating fake tanks and other elements of subterfuge in order to mislead the Axis forces’ intelligence. After the war, he attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In 1948, Kelly enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris under the G.I. Bill.

He returned to the U.S. in 1954 and began living in New York City, where he continued to develop his distinctive style of painting, one which seemed at odds with the prevalent artistic trends of the time. He became known for his canvases, which were often unusually-shaped and painted in a single field of color. In 1970, Kelly left New York City to live and work in Spencertown, New York, where he continued to work for the rest of his life. Today, he is remembered as a pioneer in hard-edge painting, a style of painting that featured abrupt transitions between color areas.

"Wall in [Ellsworth Kelly's] studio, 1994. Photograph by Jack Shear." Caption and photo from @ellsworthkellystudio

The Hyde Collection delights guests as one of the best small art museums in the country, with works by such European luminaries as Sandro Botticelli, Rembrandt and Pablo Picasso, as well as great American artists including Winslow Homer, James McNeill Whistler, and Robert Rauschenberg.

The first Kelly exhibition, Slow Curve, is described as displaying over 70 prints examining “Kelly’s experimentation with curved fields of color, ranging from tight ellipses and shapes with rounded corners to broad arcs and segments.”

The second exhibition, called Fruits and Flowers, is an accompaniment to Kelly’s abstract works, displaying a selection of 26 lithographs. They feature line-drawn images that reveal some of the inspiration for his work which he found in the natural contours of plants, fruits, and flowers.

Both exhibitions are from the Collections of Jordan Schnitzer and His Family Foundation in Portland, Oregon.

Ellsworth Kelly exhibitions at The Hyde Collection. Photo from Instagram by @carolynmackin

The exhibitions run until September 24, 2017.