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Franz Kline

Franz Kline

(1910 - 1962)
Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Style: Expressionism
Famous Works:
  • Chief (1950)
  • High Street (1950)
  • Painting Number 2 (1954)
Franz Kline's paintings are beautiful and individual abstract expressions of aggressive brushstrokes, usually in black and white. He settled as a young artist in New York in 1939 after studying briefly in London and Boston. His early work was of urban landscapes and portraits. However, by the 1940s Kline worked solely within abstract themes, inspired by graphic illustration and the construction sites of massive developments like railways, scaffolding and bridges. These scenes, found throughout New York City, inspired his large-scale paintings of black and white patterns, executed in broad, decisive brushstrokes with house paintbrushes. He was driven by the powerful expression of line and the tension between vast space and a single gesture. Slabs of white rest within frameworks of black on his canvases. This work met with success, and he was given his first one-man show in 1950 in New York. Later in his life Kline stated that his paintings should be viewed as "experiences," as the acts of creating and viewing the paintings were equally important. This is a basic idea of the Abstract Expressionists, of whose work Kline's paintings represent an extreme aesthetic. While he is known best for this monochromatic work, in 1959 Kline introduced vivid color into his work. Franz Kline died of heart failure in 1962 at the age of fifty two.
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