Destroyed Ellsworth Kelly Floor Painting

OK, I guess it’s clear I was not paying close enough attention when I posted about Ellsworth Kelly’s Red Floor Panel (1992) in 2022. I recognized that Kelly made five floor works. They began in 1990, Matthew Marks wrote, with Yellow Curve, for Portikus and were followed by “two in black, one in blue, and this one in red.” I’d assumed that Glenstone purchased Yellow Curve (1990), but of course, it was later made clear that Kelly did not recreate Portikus’ Yellow Curve, but made it anew as an autonomous work, Yellow Curve (EK 808), 2015, for an identically dimensioned—and purpose-built—space. Which means technically, Kelly made six.

Ellsworth Kelly, Black Curves, 2011, installed at Haus der Kunst, photo: Wilfried Petzi

Red Floor Panel was reconstitutable and not site-specific, and Yellow Curve was not. Which are two potential conditions a floor piece can have. And now while researching Kelly’s 1955 painting Bar, I surfed across the 2011 exhibition, Ellsworth Kelly: Black & White at Haus der Kunst in Münich. For this venue Kelly was commissioned to create a floor panel the Haus called Black Curves [though Artforum called it Two Curves For Floor]. This panel extended 11 meters across a bay of the museum, and was destroyed when the show moved to Wiesbaden.

Ellsworth Kelly, Black Curves, 2011, lithograph, 197 x 261 mm, ed. 100, this ex. 61/100, sold at Neumister, was flipped upside down for schematic effect

It lives now only in proportion, memorialized in the diminutive fundraising edition created for the exhibition. Though with the dimensions and the plan, it feels ripe for recreating; all you need is a space with an 11m hypotenuse.

Previously, related:
Ellsworth Kelly Red Floor Panel (1992)
EK 808: The Making Of