Ellsworth Kelly Gets the National Medal of Arts from President Obama

“Making art has first of all to do with honesty. My first lesson was to see objectively, to erase all ‘meaning’ of the thing seen. Then only, could the real meaning of it be understood and felt.” —Ellsworth Kelly
Congrats to Ellsworth Kelly, who just this morning received the National Medal of Arts from the president himself, along with fellow luminaries like Tony Kushner and Joan Didion. “A careful observer of form, color, and the natural world,” the White House describes, “Mr. Kelly has shaped more than half a century of abstraction and remains a vital influence in American art.” Although the ninety-year-old artist has pioneered an aesthetic vocabulary all his own, Kelly is quick to cite his vast range of influences, which includes , , and : “My line of influence has been the ‘structure’ of the things I liked.”
Portrait courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.