Lot 19
  • 19

ELLSWORTH KELLY | Study for Curve II

350,000 - 450,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Ellsworth Kelly
  • Study for Curve II
  • partially titled and dated 1973; signed on the reverse
  • graphite on paper
  • 33  3/4  x 33  3/4  inches


Leo Castelli Gallery, New York
Collection of Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc., New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner


New York, John Weber Gallery; Amherst College, Mead Gallery; Santa Barbara, University of California Art Galleries; Austin, Laguna Gloria Art Museum; Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, October 1977 - December 1978, n.p.
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Ellsworth Kelly, Schilderijen en beelden 1963-1979 Paintings and Sculptures 1963-1979, December 1979 - February 1980
London, Hayward Gallery, Ellsworth Kelly Painting & Sculpture 1966-1979, February - April 1980, cat. no. 41
Baden-Baden, Staatliche Kunstalle, Ellsworth Kelly Gemalde und Skulpturen 1966-1979, July - September 1980, cat. no. 37, p. 123
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art; Saint Louis Art Museum, Ellsworth Kelly: Sculpture, December 1982 - May 1983, p. 190
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Vancouver Art Gallery; Calgary, The Nickle Arts Museum; New York, Seagram Building; London, London Regional Art Gallery, Drawings by Sculptors: Two Decades of Non-Objective Art in the Seagram Collection, May 1984 - June 1985, p. 41, illustrated

Catalogue Note

“Making art has first of all to do with honesty. My first lesson was to see objectively, to erase all ‘meaning,’ of the thing seen. Then only, could the real meaning of it be understood and felt.” 

--Ellsworth Kelly, “Notes from 1969,” in Ellsworth Kelly: Schilderijen en beelden 1963-1979, exh. cat., Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam 1979, p. 34

Ellsworth Kelly’s Study for Curve II is a discerning exploration of form that utilizes basic gestures to describe complex spatial relationships. Composed of two line segments that meet in a right angle and connect at their other end with an arc, Kelly’s drawing exhibits a graceful diagonal symmetry. The straight lines rhyme with the edges of the picture plane, and the curving segment bends away from the border, drawing attention to the negative space between the edge of the line and the corner. The momentum of Kelly’s gesture is captured where each line meets, forever recorded in the sweeps made by the graphite as they lifted off of the page. The drawing is a study for the highly important sculpture Curve II, originally installed outside of Phillip Johnson's house in Connecticut and subsequently donated by Johnson to the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Johnson, who designed the interior of the Four Seasons Restaurant in the Seagram building was instrumental to the formation of the Seagram collection, and Kelly’s drawing stands as a testament to the pioneering contemporary vision that pervades the collection.