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Yves Klein (1928-1962)
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Yves Klein (1928-1962)

Anthropométrie

Details
Yves Klein (1928-1962)
Anthropométrie
pigment and varnish on paper laid down on board
25 5/8 x 19 5/8in. (65 x 50cm.)
Executed in 1960
Provenance
A gift from the artist to the father of the present owner and thence by decent.
Special Notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium

Lot Essay

Anthropométrie was executed in 1960, the year of inception for the works that are grouped under this title. It shows the imprint of a woman's body she has been covered in paint, and has pressed herself against the support, leaving the traces of her form in IKB, the artist's patented International Klein Blue. Many of the Anthropométries were executed within a ritual atmosphere, with an orchestra playing Klein's own composition, the Symphonie monotone in the background, the artist himself presiding in evening dress, instructing the models, naked but for the IKB in which they had daubed themselves. This allowed Klein to distance himself from direct intervention in creation of the work, meaning that it was Anthropométrie is the result of universal forces of nature, of life. This was a Gordian Knot solution for Klein, who had sought to attain a distance from his works in order to remove any contaminating subjectivity: "My brushes were alive and remote-controlled" (Klein, quoted in O. Berggruen, M. Hollein, I. Pfeiffe (eds.), Yves Klein, exh. cat., Ostfildern-Ruit 2004, p. 126).

Klein was in a constant state of war against the Action Painters, against subjectivity, and above all against the idea of smearing himself in IKB:

"I personally would never attempt to smear paint over my own body and become a living brush; on the contrary, I would rather put on my tuxedo and wear white gloves. I would not even think of dirtying my hands with paint. Detached and distant, the work of art must complete itself before my eyes and under my command. Thus, as soon as the work is realised, I stand there, present at the ceremony, spotless, calm, relaxed, worthy of it, and ready to receive it as it is born into the tangible world" (Klein, quoted in N. Rosenthal, 'Assisted Levitation: The Art of Yves Klein', pp. 89-135, in Yves Klein 1928-1962: A Retrospective, exh. cat., Houston 1982, p. 124).

As Anthropométrie shows, Klein was interested not in the body as a whole, but only the parts that he considered truly vital, truly essential and truly living. The head, with all its implications of thought and intellect, was of no interest, and neither were the limbs:
"it was the block of the body itself, that is to say the trunk and part of the thighs, that fascinated me... Only the body is alive, all-powerful, and nonthinking. The head, the arms, the hands are only intellectual articulations around the bulk of flesh that is the body!"
"The heart beats without thought on our part; the mind cannot stop it. Digestion works without our intervention, be it emotional or intellectual. We breathe without reflection."
"True, the whole body is made of flesh, but the essential mass is the trunk and the thighs. It is there that we find the real universe, hidden by the universe of our limited perception" (Klein, quoted in S. Stich, Yves Klein, Ostfildern 1994, p. 175)."

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