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Ellsworth Kelly, American, 1923 - 2015

Made in Paris, France, Europe


Oil on wood

16 1/2 × 45 1/4 inches (41.9 × 114.9 cm)

© Ellsworth Kelly, courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

Curatorial Department:
Contemporary Art

* Gallery 275, Modern and Contemporary Art, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with funds contributed in memory of Anne d'Harnoncourt and other Museum Funds, 2008

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Kelly’s encounter with Jean (Hans) Arp’s collages “arranged according to laws of chance” in February 1950 will have a profound impact on the work of the young artist. At that time, chance begins to play an increasingly larger role in Kelly’s art, and Seine is an early and accomplished example. In creating the painting—a representation of light flickering on the wavering surface of the Seine River translated into a geometric pattern—the artist incorporated chance into the process, pulling numbers from a box and darkening the corresponding blocks of a modular grid.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.