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May 15, 2013

An Ellsworth Kelly Exhibit at the Barnes Foundation

By Erin Schumaker | Museums

An Ellsworth Kelly Exhibit at the Barnes Foundation
© Ellsworth Kelly. Photo courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery, New York

The Barnes Foundation—a collection of works by Post-Impressionist masters such as Renoir, Cézanne and Matisse that Albert C. Barnes amassed between 1912 and 1952—is celebrating the first anniversary of its move to a new space on Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Marking the occasion is a new contemporary exhibition called “Ellsworth Kelly: Sculpture on the Wall” (through September 2) that includes Kelly’s landmark work, Sculpture for a Large Wall (pictured here). The massive painting, which measures 65 feet wide by more than 11 feet tall, was originally commissioned for the Philadelphia Transportation Building in the 1950s and is returning to the city for the first time since 1988.

“It has been a tremendous honor to work with an artist of his caliber,” says Judith F. Dolkart, the foundation’s chief curator. “Ellsworth’s interest in line, form and color echo elements that were critical to Albert C. Barnes’s aesthetic theories and display practice.” In addition to Sculpture for a Large Wall, seven of Kelly’s other works will also be displayed.

Reflecting on the museum’s first year in its new location, Dolkart seems pleased. The foundation brought in more than 300,000 visitors, many of whom were experiencing the collection for the first time. And those who were already well acquainted with the Barnes Foundation got to see the works in a new light, literally, thanks to a state-of-the-art system that illuminates the pieces in all their detailed glory. 2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy.; 215-278-7200; barnesfoundation.org.