Happy Birthday Yves Klein!

Yves Klein

French artist Yves Klein (b. 1928 – 1962 Nice France) isn’t easy to classify.  Some have said that he was a post-modernist others  a neo Dadaist.  Between the years of 1947 – 48 Klein ‘wrote’ a symphony which consisted of a 20 minute sustained chord followed by a 20 minutes silence.  From 1948 to 1952 he travelled to Italy, Spain and Britain.  Whilst in Japan he became a master of Judo, he was aged 25.  This was considered at the time a great achievement for a westerner’

Yves Klein blue (IKB)

He threw himself into art seriously and held his first private exhibitions of his monochromes in 1950.   Some of his shows showed orange, pink, red, yellow and blue monchromes which Klein thought were misunderstood.  He decided to concentrate only on the colour blue.  Klein patented his own recipe.  This was to become ‘International Klein Blue’ which resembled the blue of the Madonna’s robe  in Medieval paintings, originally made with lapis lazuli.

Klein making a Fire painting

Another show, in 1958 called  La spécialisation de la sensibilité à l’état matière première en sensibilité picturale stabilisée, Le Vide (The Specialization of Sensibility in the Raw Material State into Stabilized Pictorial Sensibility, The Void consisted of an empty gallery space except for a large cabinet.  All surfaces were painted white and on the opening night 3000 people queued up to view the empty room, thanks to enormous publicity!

He decorated the Gelsenkirchen Opera House, Germany with vast blue murals and in 1958 collaborated with Jean Tinguely (Bas reliefs in a Sponge forest) using the sponges he had used to paint his canvases.  These were mounted on to steel rods and set in rocks from his parents garden.

Victory of Samothrace 1962

He also ‘painted’ with gas burners by scorching his canvas.  He  made sculptures, like ‘Venus de Milo’ and ‘The Winged Victory of Samothrace’  which he painted in IKB.   He also made this photomontage called Saut dans le vide (Leap into the Void) which shows appernetly him jumping off a wall.

Le Saut le Vide by Yves Klein

 But he is perhaps most well known for his performance art where he used models as paintbrushes as the formerly dressed audience watch and Klein’s Monotone symphony played!

Yves Klein, Anthropométrie de l’époque bleue

 Here’s the artist himself amidst his symphony and his painted ladies:-

Lots of information about this artist here

and here

Source of images and information here

 Yves Klein becomes the latest artist to be celebrated – there’s many more in my Artists birthdays category!

6 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Yves Klein!

  1. Lynda where did you dig up this video!? I chuckled and laughed all the way through. The way the blue models were able remain so serious as their nude bodies were painted blue and then pressed to the canvas was worth more than four million francs! Considering the time period Klein was working,it makes one realize that there’s not much new under the artworld’s sun. The whole event seemed so contemporary.

  2. Yes Al, still contemporary and fresh after all these years – and that was the very early 60’s! They took their art very seriously in those days 🙂 Yves oeuvre is hard to classify as he did so many things. As well as the collage, sculpture, composing, painting, and performance art, and even inventing, I suppose you could also call him a conceptual artist too. Glad the video made you smile, me too 🙂

  3. Hehehe I can see you doing this using some sort of syrup or creme brulee and a blow torch K lol! Glad you liked it 🙂 You could combine cookery and performance art 🙂

  4. I cracked up when it said he directed the human brushes from afar. Leave it to you to open my mind and show me artists like this! Bravo, Lynda! I think my Dad would have liked this art show. Smile!

  5. Hhehe great Leslie! Glad it made you chuckle 🙂 what a character eh – and up to all sorts, really Avant Garde! I remember someone from Uni doing a fire painting and filming it (as it burnt up) don’t think that was supposed to happen…. It’s just the sort of ‘happening’ you hear about regarding the 60’s – crazy artist and SO serious – which adds to the fun 🙂 thanks for visiting appreciated 🙂

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