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Ellsworth Kelly (b. 1933), a pioneer of American abstract art, will receive a National Medal of Arts from President Obama July 10, 2013 at the White House. The National Medal is the highest honor given to artists and art patrons by the U.S. government.

Kelly, a painter, sculptor and printmaker, began developing his unique approach to minimalism, color field painting and hard-edge painting in the 1950s. By the end of the decade, he had established himself as an important figure in the art world and three of his pieces were selected for the Whitney Museum of American Art’s seminal exhibition Young America 1957. Since setting himself apart from his peers thanks to his innovative style, Kelly has been lauded for his ability to pull abstract form, contour and color contrast from perceived reality.

Kelly, who turned 90 this year, is currently the subject of the exhibition Ellsworth Kelly: Chatham Series, which is on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York through September 8, 2013.

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