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The Art Story Homepage Artists Franz Kline
Franz Kline Photo

Franz Kline

American Painter

Movements and Styles: Abstract Expressionism, Action Painting

Born: May 23, 1910 - Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

Died: May 13, 1962 - New York, New York

Franz Kline Timeline

"The final test of a painting, theirs, mine, any other, is: does the painter's emotion come across?"

Franz Kline Signature

Summary

American Abstract Expressionist Franz Kline is best known for large black and white paintings bearing abstract motifs set down with strident confidence. He started out as a realist with a fluent style that he perfected during an academic training that encouraged him to admire Old Masters such as Rembrandt. But after settling in New York and meeting Willem de Kooning, he began to evolve his signature abstract approach. By the end of his life he had achieved immense international recognition, and his unusual approach to gestural abstraction was beginning to influence the ideas of many Minimalists.

Key Ideas

Franz Kline is most famous for his black and white abstractions, which have been likened variously to New York's cityscape, the landscape of his childhood home in rural Pennsylvania, and Japanese calligraphy.
The poet and curator Frank O'Hara saw Kline as the quintessential 'action painter', and Kline's black and white paintings certainly helped establish gestural abstraction as an important tendency within Abstract Expressionism. Yet Kline saw his method less as a means to express himself than as a way to create a physical engagement with the viewer.
The powerful forms of his motifs, and their impression of velocity, were intended to translate into an experience of structure and presence which the viewer could almost palpably feel. Along with De Kooning and Pollock, Kline was one of the examplary artists heralded in Harold Rosenberg's definition of Action Painting.
Kline's reluctance to attribute hidden meanings to his pictures was important in recommending his work to a later generation of Minimalist sculptors such as Donald Judd and Richard Serra.
Franz Kline Photo

Franz Kline was born and raised in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, a small coal-mining community that offered few opportunities for artistic development. His childhood was marred by a complicated relationship with his parents. His father, a saloon keeper, committed suicide in 1917, when Kline was only seven years old. His mother later remarried and sent her son to an institution for fatherless boys, which the artist referred to as "the orphanage."

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Franz Kline
Interactive chart with Franz Kline's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
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Artists

Willem de KooningWillem de Kooning
Jackson PollockJackson Pollock
Stuart DavisStuart Davis
John GrahamJohn Graham
David SmithDavid Smith

Personal Contacts

Clement GreenbergClement Greenberg
Harold RosenbergHarold Rosenberg
Alfred H. Barr, Jr.Alfred H. Barr, Jr.

Movements

ExpressionismExpressionism
Japanese CalligraphyJapanese Calligraphy
Influences on Artist
Influences on Artist
Franz Kline
Franz Kline
Years Worked: 1930 - 1962
Influenced by Artist
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Cy TwomblyCy Twombly
Donald JuddDonald Judd
Andy WarholAndy Warhol
Jasper JohnsJasper Johns
Richard SerraRichard Serra

Personal Contacts

Robert CreeleyRobert Creeley
Allen GinsbergAllen Ginsberg
Mark RothkoMark Rothko
Andrew WyethAndrew Wyeth

Movements

Abstract ExpressionismAbstract Expressionism
MinimalismMinimalism
Pop ArtPop Art

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Ivan Savvine

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Ivan Savvine
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
Available from:
First published on 21 Nov 2011. Updated and modified regularly. Information
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