Design

The secular chapel of Ellsworth Kelly opens in Texas

The secular chapel of Ellsworth Kelly opens in Texas

Ellsworth Kelly Poundation / photo courtesy Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin

After three years of work, the very first - and unique - architectural work of the famous painter-sculptor Ellsworth Kelly was inaugurated on February 18th. He will be part of permanent collection of the Blanton Museum at the University of Texas, in Austin, United States.

The "secular chapel" by Ellsworth Kelly bears the name ofAustin, the city that houses it, and measures 250 m2 with 8 meters high ceilings. Purified and soothing, the structure encapsulates the vision of the artist and should quickly become the symbol of the University of Texas as of its capital. With the help of Simone Jamille Wicha, Director of the Blanton MuseumKelly spent the last three years of his life to draw and design the building he dreamed for over twenty years.

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The entrance to the Austin Chapel with its Texas wooden door and mouth-blown glass windows in Italy and fashioned by Franz Mayer in Munich.

Ellsworth Kelly Poundation / photo courtesy Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin

One of the facades of the chapel.

Ellsworth Kelly Poundation / photo courtesy Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin

of the drawings to materials, he chose and validated the least detail since his house in upstate New York. Construction has started two months before his death, in December 2015. To 92 yearshe was sick, he marveled like a child to see his project come out of the ground ... Austin is considered not only as the manifesto of the themes dear to the artist, but also as his most accomplished work. Minimalist movement icon of the twentieth century, a great admirer of European art and architecture, Kelly spent seventy years between Paris, Boston and New York to explore the limits of the color, shape and geometry.

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Young Kelly in front of a work experimenting already the color and the geometry.

Ellsworth Kelly Foundation Photo Courtesy Ellsworth Kelly Studio

The Chapel is a large continuous space adorned on three of its colored stained glass facades who play with light to create ephemeral works All day long. Inside, fourteen black and white marble panels adorn the walls. A carved totem 5.5 meters high occupies the place of the altar. Right now compared to the Chapel of the Rosary of Matisse (1951), Notre-Dame-du-Haut of Le Corbusier (1954) or the Rothko Chapel (1971), Austin is distinguished by its scale, its consistency with the vision of its creator and because it reaches the height of greatest ambitions of a contemporary artist.

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The rainbow palette carefully selected by the artist.

Ellsworth Kelly Foundation Photo Courtesy Ellsworth Kelly Studio

A preliminary drawing, inspiration for the project.

Ellsworth Kelly Foundation / Photo by Ron Amstutz, Courtesy Ellsworth Kelly Studio

Another important difference is that unlike the Rothko Chapel (also in Texas), which carries the weight of the unhappy destiny of the latter, Austin breathe optimism, joy and light. Ellsworth Kelly wished that by visiting his chapel everyone could reconnect with his inner peace by immersing himself in the mysticism of art. And want to come back, as for a pilgrimage, in order to discover, each time, something new.

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Kaleidoscopic games of light and color inside Austin.

Ellsworth Kelly Poundation / photo courtesy Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin

BLANTON MUSEUM, the museum houses the largest collection of Texas art, with nearly 18,000 objects. blantonmuseum.org