American minimalist painter and sculptor Ellsworth Kelly rendered his surroundings into abstract, essential shapes and varying planes of color and empty space. After studying at the Pratt Institute in New York, he was deployed to France during World War II, where his fascination with Paris and European artists was first sparked. While in France, Kelly surrounded himself with like-minded artists including Alexander Calder and began to develop his iconic style through paintings and collages “that were arranged according to the laws of chance.” In 1954, he returned to the U.S. and gained immediate success at New York gallery shows where he exhibited his geometric, minimalist paintings and totemic sculptures. Kelly earned his first retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1973, and has since been the subject of retrospectives at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Tate Modern in London.
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