Ellsworth Kelly was a precursor of minimalism, developing his own "hard-edge" style of painting that reduced geometric elements to their most basic state. The smooth, blue oblong shape lies flatly against the contrasting monochrome red surface, showing no signs of depth or illusionistic space. The only compositional element is the relationship between the colors, which replaces any representational meaning or content.
Artist Ellsworth Kelly, American, 1923-2015
Title
  • Blue Red
Date 1964
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Framed: 73 × 58 1/2 × 1 1/2 inches (185.4 × 148.6 × 3.8 cm)
Unframed: 72 × 58 inches (182.9 × 147.3 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase with funds from W. Hawkins Ferry
Accession Number 75.32
Department Contemporary Art after 1950
Not On View
Signed Signed and dated on verso: Kelly 1964
Marks Paper label with printed blue ink and typewritten information: Collection of CARTER BURDEN No. 11.30 | Artist: Ellsworth KELLY ( American, born 1923) | Title: Red/Blue [underlined] | Date: 1964 | Medium: Acrylic on canvas | Dimensions: 72 1/2 x 58 inches | (7-68)

Yellow paper label with blue printing: FA [in circle] OLLENDORFF FINE ARTS | FINE ART PACKERS AND SHIPPERS | NEW YORK - SAN FRANCISCO | lot no. 4453 piece no. 1

White paper label with blue printing, lot and piece number handwritten in blue ink: HAHN BROS. | New York City | Lot No. 26393 Piece No. 69
Inscriptions Inscribed in marker on horizontal stretcher bar, left: #333 72 1/2 x 58"
Signed and dated in marker on horizontal stretcher bar, right: Kelly 1964
Inscribed in marker on vertical stretcher bar, upper center: [an arrow pointing to top of painting]

the artist;
collection of Carter Burden;
(Blum Helman Gallery, New York, New York, USA);
1975-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)

Bulletin of the DIA 54, no. 2 (1975): 94 (ill.).