Image Copyright Restricted

Blue Green Yellow Orange Red

Ellsworth Kelly (American, 1923–2015)


120 x 272 inches (304.8 x 690.9 cm) overall

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas

Not On View


Americas, Contemporary Art



Kelly’s works are based on things he saw: shadows, plants, architectural details. He captured the essence of those things by distilling them into pure line, shape, and, above all, color. In this “half-spectrum” he explored how shape and color relate. What happens when you put green between blue and yellow? Why do the five panels seem to recede into space even when they are flat against the wall? When do we recognize the roots of an abstracted shape in reality, and when do we not?


The artist; Blum Helman Gallery, New York; 1976, sold by Helman to Boatmen's National Bank, Saint Louis, MO; 1996, ownership transferred to NationsBank, Charlotte NC through merger of Boatmen's and NationsBank; 1998, ownership transferred to the Bank of America Corporation, Charlotte, NC through NationsBank acquisition of BankAmerica and the renaming of the new business as Bank of America Corporation; 2011, gift of the Bank of America Corporation to the MFA. (March 23, 2011)

Credit Line

Gift of the Bank of America Corporation


© Ellsworth Kelly.