An eye-opening presentation of largely unknown figurative drawings by a renowned pioneer of abstraction
Featuring one hundred figurative works on paper by Ellsworth Kelly (1923–2015), this volume shows a new side of an artist best known for abstraction. These informal depictions of friends and expressive self-portraits—all rarely or never previously displayed or published—span the entirety of Kelly’s career, from the mid-1940s to the early 2000s. Throughout his life, Kelly made portraits as a means of keeping his hand adept at drawing, which provided a place to test his ideas, refine his bold use of lines, and interrogate the space between naturalism and abstraction. These works also capture his social milieu, which intersected with other creative circles and the queer community. He painstakingly recorded how his own appearance changed over time, and once described some of these sketches by saying, “I use myself in order to draw.” The accompanying critical essays unpack the ways in which such intimate efforts were fundamental to Kelly’s practice and situate this important aspect of his work within the artist’s wider oeuvre.
Distributed for the Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago (July 1–October 23, 2023)
Kevin Salatino is chair and Anne Vogt Fuller and Marion Titus Searle Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Sign up to the Yale newsletter for book news, offers, free extracts and more
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.