This piece represents the transition in John Kelly's painting after moving from southern California to Paris. In his new location, the quality of light has shifted from bright Californian light to a mistier, more subtle luminance. The bright red of the kimono frames the more complicated tones of the skin. "The competing forms of light create empathy with the model's interior monologue, which remains mysterious," explains John.

- John Kelly

Red Kimono

Oil painting on stretched canvas
Painting wraps around edges
Ready to hang

Signed on back

23.5" h x 28.75" w x 1" d
4 lbs. 5 oz.



John Kelly
Paris, France

Getting to Know John

John was born in Paris and grew up in New York. He attended the School of Visual Arts in the 1980s and participated in the East Village art scene at the time, showing at 301 Houston Street Gallery and Ground Zero Gallery. His work was mainly influenced by the Abstract Expressionists and the German Expressionists, but that changed when he saw a Balthus retrospective at the Met in 1983. His work became figurative, and has remained so ever since. Today, he works with several models, and they’ve become active collaborators in his art. “Allowing them to be creative helps me,” he says. John’s paintings live between the realms of classicism and modernity. He painstakingly renders his models with the precision traditionally reserved for the world’s wealthy and powerful, but his subjects are like you and me. As viewers, we see intimate moments of self-reflection and vulnerability. The figures are so close to the surface, it feels like you are part of the incredibly charged scene.