Skip to main content

Ellsworth Kelly's Austin Archive

Identifier: A.2015.01

Scope and Contents

The Ellsworth Kelly's Austin Archive, circa 2015-2016, contains construction documents and materials related to the design concept and building of the monumental work titled "Austin" by renowned American artist Ellsworth Kelly.

The bulk of this collection is within the Construction Materials series, in which samples of various materials used in the construction of "Austin" are stored for use in future preservation projects related to the structure.


  • 2014-2016


Biographical and Historical Note

In January 2015, the renowned American artist Ellsworth Kelly gifted to the Blanton the design concept for his most monumental work, a 2,715-square-foot stone building with luminous colored glass windows, a totemic wood sculpture, and fourteen black and white marble panels. Titled "Austin", honoring the artist’s tradition of naming particular works for the places for which they are destined, the structure is the only building the artist designed and will be his most lasting legacy. Envisioned by Kelly as a site for joy and contemplation, "Austin" is a cornerstone of the Blanton’s permanent collection and will enrich the lives of visitors from around the world.

"Austin" is the culmination of Ellsworth Kelly’s seven-decade career. It is the only building he ever designed, though his painting and sculpture were always integrally connected to architecture and space. In "Austin", Kelly developed a structure in tandem with multiple artistic elements to create a unified aesthetic statement and an immersive environment. Though it has multiple components, each with their own history within his body of work, Kelly conceived "Austin" as an unchanging, holistic, and integrated single work of art. In simplest terms, "Austin" is a place to experience the artist’s color, form and light and the harmonious beauty they create together. Because its interior light–defined by three striking stained-glass windows–slowly but constantly changes with the intensity and angle of the sun, "Austin" is also a time-based work, one intimately attuned to nature. Kelly himself was constantly inspired by the natural world and was deeply aware of how perception can transform ordinary things into extraordinary–even spiritual–experiences, if we open ourselves to that possibility.


6.92 Linear Feet (20 containers)

Language of Materials


Guide to the Ellsworth Kelly's Austin Archive
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Jane Smith Special Collections and Archives Repository