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Franz Kline was born in 1910, in Wilkes-Barre,

Pennsylvania.In 1931 he left home and went to
Boston to begin his training
Kline belongs to the movement of American Abstract
Expressionist painters.He was a member of the
second Abstract expressionist generation.
Franz studied painting in the Art Department at
Boston University from 1931 to 1935, and in the
Heatherley's School in London from 1937 to 1938.
Then he settled in New York, where he began to
paint views of New York, portraits and seated

New York
The term Abstract Expressionism is used to refer
to all types of non-geometric abstraction. Two
distinct groups:
- Colour Field artists worked with simple, unified
blocks of colour.
- Gestural or action painters like Pollock and
de Kooning who made use of surrealist
techniques of automatic art. Kline belongs to this

Movement: Abstract Expressionism

and New York School

Influenced by Existentialist ideas, which emphasized the

importance of the act of creating, not of the finished object.

Surrealist background, inspired by the presence of Breton

and Matta in New York in the 1940s and by retrospectives on
Miro (1941) and Kandinsky (1945)

The Abstract Expressionists sought to express their

subconscious through their art.

Source: Abstract Expressionism,

Inspired by exhibitions of African and American Indian art in

1935 and 1941.

Romantic view of the artists, seeing their painting as a way

of life and themselves as disillusioned commentators on
contemporary society after the Depression and the Second
World War.

In 1949 de Kooning lent Kline a Bell Opticon
projector to enlarge some of his own drawings.
Kline took a small drawing of a chair and
projected this on to canvas on such a large
scale that it completely overlapped the edges.
The design became completely abstract.
He started a transition from figuration to

Kline described the projection of the chair as such:
"A four by five inch black drawing of a rocking
chair...loomed in gigantic black strokes which
eradicated any image, the strokes expanding as entities
in themselves, unrelated to any entity but that of their
own existence."
Kline created paintings in the style of what he saw
that day throughout his life.

New York
In 1950 he began to make large scale
calligraphic abstract paintings in black and
white, which are some of his most important
In this year he had his first exhibition at the
Egan Gallery in New York. Here he started to
be recognized as a leading Abstract
1958 is when he started to introduce strong
colors into some of his works.

Kline insisted that his works, despite
their nonobjective appearance, were
rooted in the world around him.
Often monochromatic, his canvases
featured slashing strokes of paint that
intersected to form complex shapes and
rhythmic designs.

The titles of several paintings refer to places
that he knew as a youth in eastern
Franz Kline achieved dynamic imagery through
thick, bold strokes of paint slashing across the
picture plane. By 1950, he had renounced
figuration and begun working on his
characteristic black-and-white canvases.

Meaning of his paintings

Franz Kline wanted to create paintings that reveal
what it means to be a painter.
For Kline, his brushstroke represents the basic
definition of a painting; that is, the mark of an
artist's hand on a surface.
He avoids using colors in order to emphasize
that this physical gesture is the most important
activity of an artist.
Kline deliberately leaves the impression that his
brushstroke begins and ends beyond the edges
of the painting. It is as if we are looking at a
magnified portion of something larger.
Source: Gallery Re-Opening Transforming the 20th Century Galleries collections/twenty-reopen/

Influences in Franz Klien work

One of his personal factors was the
illness of his wife (she suffered repeated
attacks of depression and schizophrenia).
His relation with Willem de Kooning
influenced him,especially after he gave
him the projector to enlarge his drawings.

Elizabeth at Islip
(Portrait of the Klines
Oil, chalk and ink on
5 3/4 x 4 3/4 inches
(14.7 x 12 cm)
The Artist
Private Collection until

Feeling Blue

79 1/2 x 58 1/2
Oil on canvas

Ninth Street
oil on canvas
60 x 78 in.

New York
Oil on Canvas
79 x 51 in
Albright-Knox Art
Gallery, Buffalo

, 1953
35 x 37
Oil on

Vawdavitch, 1955
Oil on canvas

Orange Outline
Oil on
mounted on
canvas, 38 x 40
in. (96.5 x 101.6

27 in. x 24

Study for Siegfried

Ink and gouache on
12 x 10 1/2 inches
30.5 x 26.7 cm
Signed, upper right,
in pencil: KLINE

Oil on canvas
78 1/4 x 106
1/8 in.
(198.6 x
269.5 cm.)

Oil on

C and O, 1958
77 x 110 inches
Oil on canvas

oil on canvas
236cm x 195.5cm

Untitled, c.
The Haskell

110 1/2 x 78 inches
Oil on canvas

Franz Kline
One of the most important Abstract
He has been characterized for his distinctive
black shapes on white backgrounds.
His works represent his energy, expression,
dynamism and anger.


"You paint the way you have to in

order to give. That's life itself, and
someone will look and say it is
the product of knowing, but it has
nothing to do with knowing, it has
to do with giving."
Franz Kline

Franz Kline, September 24, 2004
Franz Kline , September 24, 2004
Gallery, September 24, 2004 g035c_kline_co.html
Looking at Abstract Art, September 24, 2004 ../abs_analysis.html
Collections, North Carolina Museum of Art, September 24, 2004 20th/1950-2000/024_lrg.shtml
Franz Kline , September 24, 2004 american/kline.html
A century of Artnewx photographs, Portrait of the Art World,
September 24, 2004 cexh/artnews/kline.htm
Franz Kine, Wikipedia, September 24, 2004
DEWAN, SHAILA What's So Great About Painting, September 24, 2004
Gallery Re-Opening Transforming the 20th Century Galleries, 24, 2004 collections/twenty-reopen/