Ellsworth Kelly



Ellsworth Kelly 1923–2015
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 1982 × 1767 × 28 mm
Presented by E.J. Power through the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1962

Display caption

This painting, one of a series that developed from a small black and white study, is called after the famous avenue in New York. Here the red form can also be read as a 'broad way' receding into the distance, Kelly having cropped the edges of the rectangle to imply perspective. At the same time it appears absolutely flat. Asserting the real, flat nature of painting has been one of Kelly's central concerns. He achieves this here without sacrificing effects of space. The picture plane suggests at once flatness and three dimensions. Other works in the series are titled Wall after New York's Wall Street and 'North River,' another name for New York's Hudson River.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

Ellsworth Kelly born 1923

T00511 Broadway 1958

Inscribed 'EK 58' on back of canvas and '166 B'WAY KELLY 1958' on stretcher
Oil on canvas, 78 x 69 5/8 (198 x 177)
Presented by E.J. Power through the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1962
Prov: E.J. Power, London (purchased from the artist through the Galerie Maeght, Paris, 1958)
Exh: Ellsworth Kelly, Galerie Maeght, Paris, November 1958 (19)
Lit: John Coplans, Ellsworth Kelly (New York 1972), pp.63, 65, repr. pl.24 in colour
Repr: Ronald Alley, Recent American Art (London 1969), pl.18

The artist wrote of this work (12 March 1963):

'I painted "BROADWAY" (#166) during May and June 1958, and I exhibited it only once, at the Galerie Maeght in Paris in October 1958, where Mr Power bought it.

'Earlier, in January 1956, I painted a smaller version of the same painting: "BLACK AND WHITE" (#58, a study for "WALL") 28" x 22" (collection: Ethel Schwabacher, New York). This picture was in my first exhibition at Betty Parsons Gallery in May 1956. My original intention was to paint a larger black and white "Wall", but it came out red; and after "Broadway" was completed, I still wanted the black, so in July 1958 I painted "WALL" (#172) 54" x 47" (black and white). I exhibited this at Galerie Maeght in the same show with "BROADWAY" and it sold, I believe to Monsieur Dotremont in Brussels.

'Early in 1959 I painted still another version, "BLUE AND WHITE" (#204, a study for "NORTH RIVER") 20" x 18" which I own, and have never exhibited. Later that spring I painted "NORTH RIVER" (#225) 78" x 70" (blue and white) which I own. It has been exhibited at: Betty Parsons Gallery, 1959; Sixteen Americans, Museum of Modern Art, 1959; VI Bienal of Sao Paulo, 1961.

"'BROADWAY" was named after the avenue in New York City; partly as a place-name, and partly because it also reads: broad way. "WALL" was named after Wall Street, where there was once a wall, running from Broadway to the East River. The North River is another name for the Hudson River which runs parallel to Broadway and is also a broad way, but blue.

'I would like some day to complete the set and do one in white and one in yellow.'

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.383-4, reproduced p.383


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