Lot Details

This scarce and iconic Ellsworth Kelly lithograph on Rives BFK with deckled edges is from the limited edition of only 100 and was created in the most desirable and influential era - the Sixties.

90 year old Ellsworth Kelly (b. 1923) is one of the most significant and influential painters of the latter 20th century. Andy Warhol, along with many others, freely acknowledged his great debt to Kelly.
Kelly initiated a style of large, simple shapes in the 1950s, formed of hard edges and flat unmodulated colors, which influenced the blank panels Warhol included in his Death and Disaster series.

Kelly strives to capture the bare essence of what he sees. His geometric abstractions depict mysterious, intensely brilliant shapes meant to exist beyond time or personal circumstance. Kelly employs bright, intense colors and hard-edged geometric shapes in his unmistakable and timeless paintings and prints. He is known for using form or shape as a subject in and of itself. In this important lithograph, created in the most desirable eras (mid Sixties) Kelly plays with black and white, giving each equal claim over the background and image. His work can be found in many prominent collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Guggenheim, New York, and the Tate, London. Kelly is represented by Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.

BLACK FORM was created as part of the legendary 'Portfolio 9' in 1967. It was housed in a gray cloth-colored box with maroon paper inner panels and a large maroon "9" designed by Richard Lindner on the cover. Portfolio 9 featured nine of the most important artists of the era, representative of the three major trends: Pop Art, Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism: Roy Lichtenstein, Saul Steinberg, Richard Lindner, Robert Motherwell, Henry Pearson, Louise Nevelson, Sam Francis, Willem de Kooning- and Ellsworth Kelly. The Introduction to the portfolio was written by Una E. Johnson, Curator of Prints & Drawings, The Brooklyn Museum. Wrote Johnson in 1967 for the colophon page: "The artists were selected to demonstrate the great diversity and character of lithography in the United States today...the dialogue of diverse forms and many faceted idioms that compose this graphic journal mirror the eloquence and delight the strengths and caprices of a period. Furthermore, they reflect in fine measure the creative achievements of artists attuned to their time.."

Nearly half a century later, this print has become more scarce, as so many of the 100 are already in the collections of major institutions world wide including the Smithsonian and the Albright Knox Gallery.

The lithograph offered here has superb provenance: it comes directly from 'Portfolio 9', numbered 69/100. This is the very first time since 1967 that this hand signed & numbered print will be separated from the original portfolio presentation box. In fine condition; never framed.

Black Form is fully referenced in The Prints of Ellsworth Kelly: A Catalogue Raisonne 1849-1985
Richard H. Axsom, Hudson Hills Press, 2000 and has been featured in a number of exhibitions that include the artist's most significant prints.

Read more
Publication: The Prints of Ellsworth Kelly: A Catalogue Raisonne 1849-1985 Richard H. Axsom, Hudson Hills Press, 2000
Catalogue Raisonné: 60, Axsom
No condition report has been added for this lot. Please contact the specialist for further information.
  • The Original Portfolio 9, Number 69/100
"Rembrandt to Rauschenberg: The Norton Print Collection", Albright-Knox Art Gallery, September 28 - December 31, 2000
  • Ships From: New York, USA
  • Shipping Dimensions: 17 x 22 in. (43.18 x 55.88 cm.)
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