Franz Kline used stark tonal contrasts and variations of scale to explore gestural movement in his Abstract Expressionist paintings. The early abstract work of friend and colleague Willem de Kooning had a deep impact on Kline, who began working as a painter in New York in the late 1930s. Moving away from figurative representation, Kline experimented with projecting small, abstract ink sketches onto his studio wall, enlarging nuanced brush strokes to mural-sized cyphers. These early exercises would inspire the large, black-and-white gestural paintings that became Kline’s legacy. He developed a painting practice that rejected many conventions of the medium: working at night under harsh lighting to bring out the tonal play between black and white and applying both oil and enamel with house-painting brushes created textural inconsistencies and left a record of the artist’s movement. Though contemporary critics often credited the influence of Japanese calligraphy (a reading that the artist consistently denied), the sweeping vectors that dominate Kline’s thickly painted canvases convey the emotion embedded in the act of painting itself.
Franz Kline (b. 1910, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; d. 1962, New York) studied at Boston University and at the Heatherley School of Fine Art in London, before settling in New York. His work was included in the groundbreaking exhibition The New American Painting at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1958, traveled to Basel, Milan, Madrid, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, and London). Major solo exhibitions have been held at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1968), the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (1979), Cincinnati Art Museum (1985), the Menil Collection, Houston (1994), Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona (1994), and Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2004).
The Physical World
An Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture
May 9–June 29, 2002
980 Madison Avenue, New York
A line (a)round an idea
Selected Works on Paper
Saturday, June 22, 2019, 11am
This event has been canceled.
Join us for a tour of A line (a)round an idea at Gagosian, Geneva. The exhibition, which presents black-and-white works on paper spanning a period of seventy years, includes work by Richard Artschwager, Georg Baselitz, Bruce Conner, Willem de Kooning, Günther Förg, Sam Francis, Keith Haring, Christine Hiebert, Hans Hofmann, Franz Kline, Brice Marden, Henri Matisse, Robert Motherwell, Ad Reinhardt, Richard Serra, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann, and others. Gagosian’s Johan Nauckhoff will give an overview of the exhibition, focusing on ways in which modern and contemporary artists have explored the clarity and activating power of the simple line, mark, splatter, or stroke. To attend the free event, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited.
Installation view, A line (a)round an idea: Selected Works on Paper, Gagosian, Geneva, May 2–July 27, 2019. Artwork, left to right: © Cy Twombly Foundation; © 2019 Richard Artschwager/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © 2019 The Franz Kline Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Richard Serra; © 2019 Dedalus Foundation, Inc./Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York