Ellsworth Kelly, Light Blue with Orange, 1964-1965. Courtesy of Lyndsey Ingram.

Ellsworth Kelly: Lithographs

Ellsworth Kelly’s interest in lithography can be traced to his days as an American soldier, fighting in the French countryside during World War II. Stationed a few miles outside of Paris, Kelly and his army buddies (one of whom even modeled for Pablo Picasso) would travel into the city and immerse themselves in the art scene. After the war, Kelly was drawn back to Paris to study fine art, which led to his first solo exhibition of paintings at Galerie Maeght in 1964. Galerie Maeght’s owners, who were avid lithographers, introduced Kelly to the printmaking technique. Later that year, Kelly began working on two strikingly different print series: his “Suite of Twenty-Seven Color Lithographs”(1964–65) showcases brightly-colored and slightly irregular shapes, while his “Suite of Plant Lithographs”(1964–66) features delicate line drawings of nature. Whether collaborating with Maeght’s publication Derrière le Miroir or the Los Angeles printshop Gemini G.E.L., Kelly returned to lithography throughout his career, regarding the technique as his favorite printmaking process.

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