Robert Kelly (born 1956) is an American artist based in New York City. Kelly was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and studied at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (B.A. 1978).


Kelly has traveled throughout the United States, Europe, North Africa, the Near East, and Nepal. His work often incorporates unusual materials from his journeys, among them vintage posters and printed antique paper, obscured and layered in saturated pigments on a canvas faintly scored with irregular grids. Kelly’s paintings have been likened to palimpsests and his method described as one of building “meticulously on inhabited ground, layering materials, documents, and signs, covering them, wiping out their beauty, nearly, but allowing something of the labor and their languages to persist.”


Robert Kelly’s influences include the De Stijl movement, Malevich and Mondrian and modernists like Bauhaus, Joaquin Torres-Garcia, Philip Guston, Richard Diebenkorn, Kurt Schwitters, Blinky Palermo and Brazilian Neo-Concretists Lygia Clark and Helio Oiticica. Kelly himself cites Hans Arp, Myron Stout, Tony Smith, Brancusi, Calder, Bill Traylor, Louise Bourgeois, and Ellsworth Kelly. 


His paintings have been acquired by public and private collections in Europe and the United States, including The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; The Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM; Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI; Smith College Art Museum, Northampton MA; Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutger’s University, NJ; Montgomery Museum of Fine Ars, Montgomery; The Fogg Museum, Cambridge, MA; The Margulies Collection, Miami, FL; and the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX.