In the early twentieth century, as some artists began to reject traditional representation and explore abstraction, many adopted an elemental vocabulary of lines, shapes and colors. Flourishing in Europe, South America, and the United States, this graphic lexicon is visible in many of the century’s artistic movements. This new toolbox for visual expression is perfectly captured in Ellsworth Kelly’s 1951 book proposal to the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship entitled Line Form Color. Kelly wrote that the book, “will be an alphabet of plastic pictoral elements…an alphabet of lines, forms, values and colors, having no written word.” Inspired by Kelly’s book (which was finally published as the artist intended in 1999), this exhibition will feature works in the Blanton’s collection that embrace a reductive formal vocabulary.


This exhibition is organized by Carter Foster, Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs.
Nicholas Krushenick,
Untitled, from Cologne Art Fair 70, 1970,
four color print, 17 1/2 x 12 3/4 in.,
Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin, Gift of Charles and Dorothy Clark, 1971