'The world is on the far side of an unsilvered mirror, there is an imaginary beyond, a beyond pure and insubstantial, and that is the dwelling place of Bachelard's beautiful phrase: "First there is nothing, next there is depth of nothingness, then a profundity of blue"....
Blue has no dimensions, it is beyond dimensions, whereas the other colours are not....all colours arouse specific associative ideas, psychologically, material or tangible, while blue suggests at the most the sea and sky, and they after all, are in actual visible nature what is most abstract.' ( Yves Klein 'Sorbonne Lecture' reproduced in Art in Theory 1900-1990 ed. Charles Harrison and Paul Wood, Blackwell, Oxford, 1993, pp. 803-5)
Executed in 1961, this work was given as a present by the artist to his father Fritz (Fred) Klein to wish him "Bonne Année" for 1962. Both Fred Klein and Yves Klein's mother, Marie Raymond, were themselves artists and had encouraged their son to paint from an early age. Though Klein initially prefered to pursue a career as a Judo teacher, later, when his attention turned towards expressing his ideas through painting, he was the first to acknowledge the debt he owed to his parents. In his famous Sorbonne Lecture of 1959 Klein pointed out that his monochrome paintings had only been realised because they had grown out of "the everyday activities of painting which were influenced by my parents, both of them artists," and because "it seemed that while working colour kept winking at me." (Ibid.)
Klein's passage into the contemporary art world was undoubtedly smoothed through the contact with the artistic circles that his parents had and also through the constant financial support of his aunt. It was his mother who gave Klein the book, Airs and Dreams by Gaston Bachelard in which Klein was delighted to discover many literary precedents for his own sense of blue and from which he later quoted on many occasions.
This small, intimate monochrome - the only one to be dedicated to a member of his family - was given to Klein's father shortly after he had seperated from Klein's mother and shortly before Klein's own wedding to Rotraut Uecker on 21 January 1962. Painted in the deep resonant hue of monochromatic blue with which Klein came to identify himself, it was a fitting gift from the man who called himself "Yves le monochrome."