Collection of the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College: Gift of Debra and Leon Black, Class of 1973; 2012.35
Ellsworth Kelly is widely recognized as one of the greatest abstract artists working today. The work titled Dartmouth Panels is composed of five monochromatic aluminum rectangles, each painted in a single block of radiant color. It was commissioned for the façade of the Hopkins Center's Spaulding Auditorium and unveiled at the time of the opening of the Black Family Visual Arts Center, which stands directly across from it. Dartmouth Panels reflects Kelly's abiding interest in vibrant color and pure form, and the intersection of these elements with the surrounding environment. The rectilinear, hard-edged shapes of Dartmouth Panels play off the rounded roofline of the building and reference the color spectrum, the basic building blocks of visual experience.
The artist has stated that at first he wanted to create a multi-part sculpture that would transect the entire expanse of the massive brick wall but later decided instead to respond to its different bays and place the top of the panels at the base of each arch. The proportions of the color rectangles are perfectly situated within each bay of the wall. Kelly has remarked that the architecture reminded him of the rounded forms of early Italian Renaissance altarpieces, and Dartmouth Panels was partly made in response to this association.
Click here to read the press release about the commission.
Michael Taylor discusses Ellsworth Kelly's Dartmouth Panels.
Last Updated: 8/31/15