Buried in Carol Vogel‘s item on Ellsworth Kelly’s site-specific piece to be installed in the Modern wing of the Art Institute of Chicago is this charming story of a 1952 work that Kelly is donating to the museum:
Mr. Kelly’s relationship with the Art Institute spans decades. It already owns 15 paintings and sculptures by him (not including the recent commission), as well as 14 of his works on paper. But that number is about to increase. The artist is giving the institute a painting he said he never had the heart to sell. Called “Tableau Vert,” it is his first monochrome canvas, which he made in 1952 as a homage to Monet the day after visiting his studio in Giverny.
“France had not discovered the Nympheas,” Mr. Kelly recalled, referring to the series of Monet’s water lilies. “I had only remembered the haystacks, but then I wrote to his stepson and asked if I could see the studio. There were all the water lilies.”
He said he created “Tableau Vert” by mixing blues and greens to echo the colors of grass underwater. After it was finished, he wrapped it up and put it away. “I thought it was a failure and didn’t look at it again until around 1985,” Mr. Kelly said.
Seeing it more than 30 years later changed his opinion. “I liked it, but perhaps that was because time had passed,” he said.
Inside Art (New York Times)