Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ellsworth Kelly Then (1952) and Now (2013)

Last night I had the great privilege to attend a 90th birthday celebration for the great American artist Ellsworth Kelly.  He reminisced about the creation of Spectrum V, 1969 and it was such a treat!

He also spoke about a dress he had made in 1952 from pieces of a fabric that he had bought in a marché in the South of France.  He was attracted to a bolt of bright red cotton and created a painting 'Red Yellow Blue White' from the fabric that now hangs in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 

and the leftover fabric he gave to his friend and fellow artist Ann Weber.  He wanted her to make a dress of equal bands of color and he wanted it hemmed just above the knee.

But Ann had other ideas.  Dior.  Christian Dior.  She wanted the dress to be the "new Dior length".  

Kelly was mad and at some point Ann's mother burned the dress.  Where there is dressmaking there is  drama : )

Fast forward 61 years and Ellsworth Kelly got the dress he dreamed of - well, almost : )  Kelly thought Francisco Costa maybe just maybe made the red band a wee bit larger then the others...

A collaboration was initiated by the Manhathan art advisor, Sharon Coplan Hurowitz, Harold Koda, curator-in-charge of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Mueum of Art and Ellsworth Kelly.  Francisco Costa the designer for Calvin Klein was charged with the task of recreating the dress.  The dress is right above the knee and it is striking.  Of course, I always see clothes as a work of art and it was a great honor to see a true work of art by a great artist.  And Kudos to Francisco Costa for doing such a brilliant job of sculpting the dress and Sharon Coplan Hurowitz for bringing back a 1952 work of art.

Ellsworth Kelly, Francsico Costa and the dress.

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