Teaching Ideas

Encouraging Dialogue

For Students K-12

  • How is the shape of this painting different from other paintings you have seen? Kelly is very interested in the appearance of fragments of furniture, shadows from buildings, and buildings themselves. What fragment do you think Kelly had in mind for Red Panel before he painted it red?

  • In paintings with no image and only a single color, the eye travels quickly to the edge of the canvas. Imagine that Kelly changed the shape of this work from the irregular diamond shape to a traditional rectangle. Would it still be like a fragment? Would it hold your attention as long? Explain your answer.

  • Traditional paintings have subjects and backgrounds. In a naturalistic painting of a bowl of fruit, the bowl of fruit would be the subject of the painting, and the space around it would be the background. If, for Kelly, the painting itself becomes the subject of the painting, what might you consider to be the painting's background?

  • Is it a painting or a sculpture? Explain your answer.

Making Connections

For Students K-12

  • Write a poem relating to Ellsworth Kelly's Red Panel without using the words red or shape. You might begin by making a list of the feelings you have when you look at the painting. Your feelings may even suggest memories that you want to include.