New York, Action Painting, Abstract Expression

Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Franz Kline became one of the most prominent 20th-century American artists working in abstract and non objective styles. His name is most associated with large-scale black and white paintings, and these linear abstractions brought him his first notable public attention in 1950 when they were shown in New York City. Many of his works were done with wide house-painter brushes, heavily loaded with paint across large canvases.

Of his paintings with no coloration, Kline said: “People sometimes think I take a white canvas and paint a black sign on it, but this is not true. I paint the white as well as the black, and the white is just as important.”

Although primarily a painter, Franz Kline taught briefly at Black Mountain College in 1952; Pratt Institute in 1953; and the Philadelphia Museum School in 1954. From the late 1950s until his death, Kline was also active in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He died in New York City in 1962.

For more information about Franz Kline and to see samples of his work visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art website at URL: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/64.146

Sources include: Matthew Baigell, “Dictionary of American Art”; Peter Falk, “Who Was Who in American Art”; and Marika Herskovic, Editor, “American Abstract Expressionism of the 1950s: An Illustrated Survey”

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