Ellsworth Kelly at Fondation Louis Vuitton – Formes and Colors, 1949-2015 photos by Marco de Rivera

Dear Shaded Viewers,

Ellsworth Kelly’s artistic journey, sparked by his encounter with Claude Monet’s Water Lilies series in 1952, reveals a profound fascination with nature’s essence. Monet’s revolutionary approach resonated deeply with Kelly, prompting him to explore abstraction as a means of capturing landscapes’ spirit rather than their literal depiction. This pivotal moment marked the genesis of Kelly’s distinctive artistic language, characterized by refined compositions of geometric shapes and vibrant colors that challenged conventional artistic norms.

Paris, where Kelly resided from 1948 to 1954, played a crucial role in shaping his artistic vision. Immersed in the vibrant post-war artistic scene, Kelly drew inspiration from avant-garde luminaries such as Picasso and Matisse. His time in the French capital became a transformative period during which he honed his mastery of form and color, experimenting with geometric abstraction to convey spatial depth and emotional resonance.

Unlike the prevailing abstract expressionism of his contemporaries, Kelly’s approach was methodical and rooted in careful observation of the world around him. He drew inspiration from everyday experiences, translating fragmented elements of reality into abstract compositions that retained a tangible connection to their origins. This deliberate departure from pure abstraction imbued Kelly’s work with a sense of accessibility and universality, inviting viewers to engage with his art on both intellectual and emotional levels. Ellsworth Kelly’s “Yellow Curve” (1990) was my absolute favorite piece, captivating me entirely. Standing in front of it felt like a meditation, evoking a sense of tranquility and introspection. As I absorbed its luminous presence, the visionary works of the American artist James Turrell, known for his contributions to the Light and Space movement, came to mind.

Throughout his prolific seven-decade career, Kelly remained steadfast in his commitment to exploring the interplay between form, color, and space. His groundbreaking installations, including monumental sculptures and immersive environments, underscored his enduring influence on the contemporary art landscape. The retrospective at the Louis Vuitton Foundation celebrates Kelly’s enduring legacy, inviting audiences to immerse themselves in the timeless beauty of his visionary creations and experience the world through his unique artistic lens.

Fondation Louis Vuitton

8 Av. du Mahatma Gandhi, 75116

till Septembre 9, 2024 



Diane Pernet

A LEGENDARY FIGURE IN FASHION and a pioneer of blogging, Diane is a respected journalist, critic, curator and talent-hunter based in Paris. During her prolific career, she designed her own successful brand in New York, costume designer, photographer, and filmmaker.