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Franz Kline (1910-1962)
Property from the Collection of Lee V. Eastman
Franz Kline (1910-1962)


Franz Kline (1910-1962)
signed and dated 'KLINE 55' (lower right); signed and dated again 'KLINE 55' (on the backing board)
ink and oil on paper
11 x 8½ in. (27.9 x 21.5 cm.)
Painted in 1955.
Acquired from the artist
Cincinnati Art Museum; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, The Vital Gesture: Franz Kline in Retrospect, November 1985-September 1986, p. 135, no. 134 (illustrated in color).

Lot Essay

"Well, look, if I paint what 'you' know, then that will simply bore you. If I paint what 'I' know, it will be boring to myself. Therefore I paint what I don't know." -Franz Kline

The use of color in Kline's work provided the artist with a different set of challenges. Colors can have associative meanings -emotional resonance or figurative resemblances. Yet Kline's ongoing deconstruction of the action of painting necessitated the use of color; he had to break painting down into its formal componants in order to juxtapose the elements in new compositions.

"The whole question was re-rehearsed in color, and a failure to understand Kline's color is a failure in understanding, not a failure in color. Color was difficult. Drenched in cultural coding, central to the elaboration of cnventional languages, and charged with "meant" things, it was next to impossible, in Kline's own words, 'to make it do what black and white did." ...[Yet] Kline's color is not about the present of color any more than his black and white is about the presence of black and white...In Kline's works, and nowhere better than in the color of works ...conventional aesthetics are submitted to almost unbearable stress" (S. C. Foster, Franz Kline: Art and the Structure of Identity, exh. cat., Fundacio Antoni Tapies, Barcelona, 1994, p. 27).


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