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Yves Klein (1928-1962)
pigment and varnish on paper laid down on board
25½ x 19 5/8 in. (64.8 x 49.8 cm.)
Executed in 1960.
A gift from the artist to the father of the present owner By descent to the present owner

Lot Essay

Klein's second major body of work, the Anthroprométrie series seems to have been born of both Klein's spontaneous desires and out of necessity. "One day it became clear to me that my hands and tools were no longer sufficient to work with the color. I needed the model herself to paint the monochrome painting I threw the large white canvas on the floor, I poured twenty kilos of blue in the middle and the model literally jumped in it," (Y. Klein, quoted in Yves Klein: A Career Survey, exh. cat., L & M Arts, New York, 2005, p. 15)

Painting with the body was the ultimate performative gesture, only enhanced when audiences were privy to the experiment. Klein's Anthropométrie performances were the French counterpart to the New York happenings; crowded impromptu social events that were often accompanied by live music.

But the expressionate aspect of the Klein's work can lead one to overlook what was often a highly controlled painting experiment. Photographs show Klein applying the paint to the models with his bare hands, and posing their limbs to encourage the imprint of a solid body mass. The effect, as seen in the piece here, has led art historians over and over again to cite the Venus of Wilendorf. The artist discovered that even in doing something new he was in effect re-interpreting the most ancient form of art itself.

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