FRANZ KLINE: PAINTINGS FROM A PRIVATE AMERICAN COLLECTION
New York: November 1 - December 12, 2003
A collection of Franz Kline paintings from 1955-1961, never before publicly exhibited together. The works in this collection are comprised of four vivid examples of the artist's mature style. From the edges of the canvas to the spaces within the brushstrokes, Kline created canvases that vibrate with energy unequivocally demonstrating why he was at the forefront of the abstract expressionist movement before his untimely death in 1962.
Kline's black and white palette and definitive brushstrokes easily lend to associations with Oriental calligraphy; an assertion Kline consistently refuted. His work is distinguished with bold, thick swathes of paint, rather than the elegantly refined lines of writing. He painted the positive and negative spaces, giving equal presence to the white and black of the canvas. Around 1956 Kline began experimenting with color producing extraordinarily vibrant canvases with the same surface brilliance as his more recognizable black and white canvases. Included in this collection is "Henry H II", a painting with a particularly radiant union of reds, oranges, golds, greens and purples.
While Kline's style may appear to be quick and gestural, in reality his paintings were derived from deliberation, study and modification. The results were works of bold, strikingly simple forms that belied the forethought invested in them. Though he entitled the works with names as diverse as "Henry H II", "Wax Wing", and "West Brand", Kline does not define the imagery within the painting. His titles function as triggers and reminders to the artist of places he has been and people he has known. He leaves viewers free to experience the emotions of the work and project their own meaning into it. As such, Kline's work is deeply personal, yet remarkably accessible. This American collection brings together four definitive works by an artist that defined a movement.