The American painter Ellsworth Kelly came of age as an artist between 1948 and 1954, when he was in his late twenties and early thirties and was living in France. For six years, much of the time supported mainly by the seventy-five dollars a month that he received on the G.I. Bill, Kelly walked the streets of Paris, visited cathedrals around the country, went off with friends to spend weeks and months in Brittany and along the Mediterranean coast. He was bewitched by what he saw. This included not only the masterworks of ancient and modern Europe but also the little things that logic tells us are trivial but that nonetheless hold the attention of an American in Paris—the stains and irregularities on old walls, the patterns of modest iron grillworks, the piled-up café chairs, the profusion of posters in the Metro. Kelly took photographs, made drawings, and in those postwar years when modern art still cast its cool...

 
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