Ellsworth Kelly - Editions & Works on Paper New York Tuesday, October 19, 2021 | Phillips
  • Already an established American artist, Ellsworth Kelly moved to Paris in 1964 and began a fruitful relationship with Aimé and Marguerite Maeght, co-owners of Galerie Maeght. Following his successful solo exhibition at the gallery, Kelly began working simultaneously on his Suite of Twenty-Seven Color Lithographs (1964-65) and Suite of Plant Lithographs (1964-66), all to be printed in the famous lithography atelier and published by Galerie Maeght. For his first major foray into printmaking, Kelly drew on the French Modern and Impressionist influences of Jean Arp and Henri Matisse to guide his abstracted view of the natural world.

    "Since birth we get accustomed to seeing and thinking at the same time. But I think that if you can turn off the mind and look at things only with your eyes, ultimately everything becomes abstract." —Ellsworth KellyEmbracing the physicality of the natural and built environment, Kelly  created prints that exemplified a purity of form,  eliminating  unnecessary detail. The Suite of Plant Lithographs (1964-66) relies on a clarity of line and composition to contextualize the stark shapes set against white backgrounds. Kelly highlights the individuality of each leaf and branch, emphasizing the concern for form shared in his Suite of Twenty-Seven Color Lithographs (1964-65). As Kelly developed his unique ability to simplify  botanicals  found in  Paris, Nice, and New York, his reductive but evocative approach to seeing uncovered the essence of the physical form.

    Although Kelly continued to  utilize a variety of artistic mediums in his practice, he was dedicated to the craft of lithography for its ability to closely represent the truth of his vision. Often forgoing preparatory sketches, Kelly would draw directly on transfer paper, maintaining the integrity of his decisive shapes. Preserving the connection between hand and eye, Kelly maintained his roots in the natural world while giving form to the novel arrays of color and shape which defined his career.

    • Provenance

      Brooke Alexander, Inc., New York, 1976

    • Literature

      Richard Axsom 52

    • Artist Biography

      Ellsworth Kelly

      American • 1923 - 2015

      Acting as a vital contributor to the Abstract movement, Ellsworth Kelly focused on color and composition. Becoming inspired by ornithology and the bold coloring of birds, Kelly used a two or three pigment color palette — painted flatly and geometrically — on his canvases. While living in Paris, the artist used Monet's late works as a base for experimenting with expressionism and serial work

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Property from the Estate of Marlyn Brill, New York


Locust (Acacia), from Suite of Plant Lithographs (A. 52)

Lithograph, on Rives BFK paper, with full margins.
I. 13 x 27 1/4 in. (33 x 69.2 cm)
S. 24 x 35 1/4 in. (61 x 89.5 cm)

Signed and numbered 49/75 in pencil (there were also 10 artist's proofs), published by Maeght, Paris, framed.

Full Cataloguing

$6,000 - 9,000 

Sold for $12,600

Contact Specialist

212 940 1220


Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 19-21 October 2021