mima acquires works by legendary American artist Ellsworth Kelly through £5 million Art Fund International scheme

  • 25 November 2009

The Art Fund announces that its Art Fund International scheme has enabled mima, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, to acquire two works by American artist Ellsworth Kelly.

The works, Untitled, 1957 and Untitled, 1959, have come directly from Ellsworth Kelly’s studio and were selected after extensive conversations between mima and the artist himself. They will go on display as part of the Ellsworth Kelly Drawings 1954-1962 exhibition opening at mima on 11 December.

mima is one of five UK museums and galleries each awarded £1million by The Art Fund to build their collections of international contemporary art over a five year period. mima is using the funding to build a collection of drawings made by artists living and working in North and South America; the gallery’s aim is to secure outstanding works by artists who are, or will become, internationally significant.

Andrew Macdonald, Acting Director of The Art Fund said: "When we launched Art Fund International mima told us that they wanted to use the £1 million to create a world class contemporary drawing collection in Middlesbrough. Since then they have bought some exceptional works by important and influential American artists, and built close relationships with the artists themselves, ensuring that despite some stiff competition from collectors and bigger institutions, they have snared the best works available. I look forward to seeing this collection go from strength to strength."

Ellsworth Kelly said: "I am delighted that mima has been able to buy two of my early works on paper thanks to the Art Fund International scheme – they are two of the most revealing and important drawings made at that time. mima is building a collection of international stature in the UK and I’m proud that my drawings will form a key part of that collection.

Ellsworth Kelly Drawings 1954-1962 will run until 21 February 2010.