Ellsworth Kelly’s Final Masterpiece Is a Majestic Study of Light and Color

March 12, 2018 Vy Tran

Ellsworth Kelly’s Final Masterpiece Is a Majestic Study of Light and Color

In January 2015, Ellsworth Kelly gifted the Blanton Museum of Art a design concept called Austin, the artist’s first and only free-standing building and one of his last masterpieces before he passed away in December 2015. After nearly three decades, the project is now completed, standing on-campus at the University of Texas in Austin.

Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas

Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas

From the start, Kelly weighed in on many details of the building, from the large limestones that are anchored to the building down to the grout color choices. The design of the 2,715-square-foot-building is based on a sketch that he made of a chapel in France, the country he was fascinated with for its Romanesque and Cistercian architecture. Similar to his works on canvas, Austin is a majestic study of light and color. 33 individual windows of stained glass cast soft glows in a spectrum of colors and are arranged in three unique designs: “color grid,” “starburst,” and “tumbling squares.” It’s not hard to draw parallels between light and religion in a place like this, nor is it difficult to feel a sense of calm and peace once inside.

Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas

Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas

Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas

Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas

Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas

Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas

Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas

Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas

Through April 29, 2018, the Blanton Museum of Art will be hosting an exhibition called Form into Spirit: Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin. The exhibition highlights the four motifs found in Kelly’s work: Color Grid, Spectrum, Totem and Black and White.

For more information, visit the Blanton Museum of Art.

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