After moving from Manhattan to the countryside in 1970, Ellsworth Kelly began to make large, outdoor sculptures. The distinctive shape of Stele II had already appeared in the artist's abstract paintings and is loosely based on a French kilometer marker, an object Kelly observed during his years in Paris after World War II. The title refers to a type of ancient stone monument that traditionally served a commemorative function. Like most stelae, this sculpture is also essentially planar and upright. Over time, the steel weathers from exposure to the elements, developing an evenly corroded, non-reflective surface.
The artist; purchased 12 February 1999 through (Matthew Marks Gallery, New York) by NGA.
- Ellsworth Kelly: On the Roof, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1998, unnumbered brochure, repro.
- Sims, Patterson, and Emily Rauh Pulitzer. Ellsworth Kelly: Sculpture. Exh. cat. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1982: 103, 105, no. 57, repro.
- Cigola, Francesca. Art Parks: A Tour of America’s Sculpture Parks and Gardens. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2013: 101.