Yves Klein

Yves Klein (28 April 1928 - 6 June 1962) was a French artist and is considered an important figure in post-war European art. New York critics of Klein's time classify him as neo-Dada, but other critics, such as Thomas McEvilley in an essay submitted to Artforum in 1982, have since classified Klein as an early, though "enigmatic," Post-Modernist.


Klein was born in Nice, in the Alpes-Maritimes department of France. His parents, Fred Klein and Marie Raymond, were both painters. From 1942 to 1946, Klein studied at the École Nationale de la Marine Marchande and the École Nationale des Langues Orientales and began practicing judo. At this time, he became friends with Arman Fernandez and Claude Pascal and started to paint. Klein composed his first Symphonie monotone in 1947. During the years 1948 to 1952, he traveled to Italy, Great Britain, Spain, and Japan. In 1955, Klein settled permanently in Paris, where he was given a solo exhibition at the Club des Solitaires. His monochrome paintings were shown at the Galerie Colette Allendy and Galerie Iris Clert in Paris, in 1956. In 1960 he founded the New Realism movement along with art critic Pierre Restany. Klein died in Paris of a heart attack in 1962 at the age of 34, shortly before the birth of his son.

Many of his early paintings were monochrome and in a variety of colours. By the late 1950s, Klein's monochrome works were almost exclusively in a deep blue hue which he eventually patented as International Klein Blue (IKB, =PB29, =CI 77007), although the colour was never produced commercially.

As well as conventionally made paintings, in a number of works Klein had naked female models covered in blue paint dragged across or laid upon canvases to make the image, using the models as "living brushes". This type of work he called Anthropometry. Other paintings in this method of production include "recordings" of rain that Klein made by driving around in the rain at 70 miles per hour with a canvas tied to the roof of his car, and canvases with patterns of soot created by scorching the canvas with gas burners.
Klein and Arman were continually involved with each other creatively, both as Nouveaux Réalistes and as friends. Both from Nice, the two worked together for many decades and Arman even named one of his children after Yves Klein.

Sometimes the creation of these paintings was turned into a kind of performance art-an event in 1960, for example, had an audience dressed in formal evening wear watching the models go about their task while an instrumental ensemble played Klein's 1949 The Monotone Symphony, which consisted of a single sustained chord.

  • Monochromaniac

    Monochromaniac

    New York

    November 18, 2016 - December 03, 2016

  • Masters of Distinction

    Masters of Distinction

    Singapore

    September 16, 2016 - October 16, 2016