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Two Ellsworth Kelly exhibitions opening at The Hyde
Ellsworth Kelly (American, 1923-2015), Blue 1, 1973-75, lithograph with embossing on 300-gram rives bfk paper, 39 3/4 x 39 in., edition of 23, The Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation, 1997.70, AX 104, Artwork © Ellsworth Kelly.

GLENS FALLS, NY.- Jordan D. Schnitzer collects the works of more than 900 artists, but when he stands in a room with artwork by Ellsworth Kelly, it is as though the rest of the world fades away. "I feel an inner calm, almost a meditative state," the Portland, Oregon-based art collector and philanthropist said.

On Saturday, June 24, The Hyde Collection opens two companion exhibitions, Ellsworth Kelly: Slow Curve, which includes seventy prints that examine the artist's experimentation with curved fields of color, and Ellsworth Kelly: Fruits & Flowers, twenty-six lithographs that reveal the sources of Kelly's non-rectilinear shapes. Both exhibitions are comprised of prints on loan from the collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation in Portland, Oregon.

Kelly is considered one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, having redefined the perception of shape and color with his bold, abstract works. "(Kelly) takes forms and shapes and colors around for thousands of years and puts them together with his own personal style and message," Schnitzer said.

Slow Curve is the first exhibition of the late artist's works that focuses on the curve. Kelly's affinity for the curved shape is presented in various forms: tight ellipses, broad segments, sweeping arcs, and shapes with rounded corners.

"The curve is perhaps Kelly’s most iconic shape," said Hyde Collection Director Erin Coe, who was inspired to organize the exhibition by two works in the Feibes and Schmitt Collection, Diagonal with Curve XII, Blue #611, a shaped canvas, and Black Wave, a collage that Werner Feibes refers to as “Slow Curve.” Mr. Feibes donated his 160-work Modern art collection to The Hyde Collection in 2016, and gave a $1 million leadership gift toward creation of the Feibes & Schmitt Gallery, which opened this month at the Museum and is dedicated to the exhibition of Modern and Contemporary art. "Kelly is the artist most widely represented in the Feibes & Schmitt Collection,” Coe said. “In my mind, he was the only artist who could accompany the opening of the new gallery."

Slow Curve will be exhibited in the Charles R. Wood Gallery, which is adjacent to the Feibes & Schmitt Gallery, where the inaugural exhibition, To Distribute and Multiply: The Feibes & Schmitt Gift, featuring four works by Kelly, is on view. "By creating a connection between the Kelly exhibitions and our new collection of postwar non-objective art, The Hyde boldly announces its commitment to Modern and Contemporary art," Coe said.

The companion exhibition, Fruits & Flowers, reveals some of the sources for the artist’s curved shapes. Throughout his life, Kelly created hundreds of drawings of recognizable botanical subjects that formed the basis of several suites of lithographs. These contour drawings of a calla lily, camellia or magnolia blossom, lemon, pear, or grape leaf are enlarged in scale and nuanced in line and detail. Kelly once noted that his unmodulated images of fruits and flowers formed “a kind of bridge to (the) way of seeing” that underpinned his non-objective prints and paintings. The prints in both Fruits & Flowers and Slow Curve derive from the forms Kelly found in his lifelong fascination with nature.

The exhibitions are organized by The Hyde Collection and curated by Museum Director Erin Coe and Jonathan Canning, Director of Curatorial Affairs. The exhibition Slow Curve is accompanied by a brochure, featuring an essay by Coe. The exhibition and accompanying publication were made possible by the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.

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