Ellsworth Kelly is known across the globe as an American Painter, printmaker and a sculptor who is basically associated with hard-edge painting, color field painting. His extraordinary works of art shows these techniques emphasizing simplicity of form, similar to the work of Kenneth Noland. He often used very bright colors and lived and worked in the Spencertown situated at New York City. He was born in the year 1923, 31st May and he breathed his last on 27th December, 2015; when he was 92 years of age.
He was born as the second son of the three children in the family. His father’s name was Allan Howe Kelly and his mother’s name was Florence Bitherns Kelly in the city of Newburgh which is about 60 miles to the North of the NYC. His father was an executive at an insurance company and his mother was a former school teacher in the Welsh and Pennsylvania German Stock. His family moved out to Newburgh to Oradell. The family lived near the Oradell Reservoir where he was introduced to ornithology by his paternal grandmother when he was around 9 years old.
His passion for color and form slowly flourished; John James Audubon had a strong influence on his work throughout his career in art. Author E.C. Goossen has a speculation that two and three color painting for which Kelly is known across the globe can be traced out to his bird watching and his study of the two and three color birds he saw very frequently at his early age. Kelly also said that he was left alone as a young boy and he had become a loner which persisted till he was a teenager.
He attended a public school where he sought to develop his artist imagination. This curriculum was typical of t trend in schooling which had emerged from the Progressive education theories brought into light by the Columbia University teacher’s College where American modernist painter Arthur Wesley Dow had taught. Though his parents were kind of unsupportive to the art training of his, a school teacher of his encouraged him to go further than this. His parents only paid his fees for the technical training, so he first studied at Pratt institute located at Brooklyn.
William Rubin noted out that his development had been totally something that was inner-directed; which was neither a reaction to the Abstract Expression nor any outcome of dialogue related to his contemporary art. Most of his art consisted of bright color followed by canvases of irregular types. The fine quality of line is seen in his painting and the forms as really very subtle and roughly shows perfection. He had his first exhibition at the Betty Parsons’ gallery. The art of him was considered to be more European than it was popular in the New York city.
Starting from the year 1984, he has been living with Jack Spear who is a professional photographer and also serves as a director for the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation. Spear has been described as Kelly’s husband in the obituaries (as he is dead); which implies that they had a husband wife relation between them.