Art gifts

Alexander Calder and Ellsworth Kelly Art Gifts


Ellsworth Kelly in his Broad Street studio, 1954.
Photo: Courtesy of Ellsworth Kelly Studio

Ellsworth Kelly was studying at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris just after World War II when he met the already established American artist Alexander Calder, born in 1898, who was already in his fifties. Kelly, born in 1923, was about half her age and just getting started. Despite their age difference, they became friends, engaging in a “sublime dialogue”, according to Dominique Lévy, co-founder of the Lévy Gorvy gallery, which houses “Calder / Kelly”, an exhibition dedicated to their surprising relationship. decades.

A gift from Ellsworth Kelly to Alexander Calder.
Photo: © Ellsworth Kelly Foundation. Courtesy of the Calder Foundation, New York.

The ideas of space and distance, the void left by movement, animate their two works. Lévy notes that they did not engage in a mentor-mentee relationship but shared a courtesy propelled by a common view of the world.

Alexander Calder in his studio, Roxbury, 1941.
Photo: Courtesy of the Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

“The beauty of friendship is the kinship of two different generations who approach these very, very strong principles in a whole different way,” said Lévy. “With complete freedom but embracing the other’s vision, really.”

A gift that Alexander Calder made for Ellsworth Kelly.
Photo: Courtesy of Ellsworth Kelly Studio.

Levy worked closely with Jack Shear, husband of the late Kelly, and Sandy Rower, Calder’s grandson, on the exhibit, which opens November 9. they exchanged. It spans the three floors of the gallery and is arranged non-chronologically, each floor being dedicated to a different concept. One floor focuses on amorphous forms while another encourages viewers to meditate on shadows, nature and the power of monochrome with works mostly in black, white and gray. The third floor explores privacy and scale.

“There is really no historical or intellectual connection with the artist I am trying to create here,” says Lévy. “It’s more emotion.”


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