Black, White, and Gray

Franz Kline American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 919

Composed of broad, sweeping, and luscious strokes, Black, White, and Gray suggests unrestrained artistic spontaneity. Yet Kline’s process was quite methodical. He typically began with a sketch, which he projected onto a wall, transforming simple lines into magnified abstract forms, and then replicated in paint. Here, the vertical orientation of the canvas is locked in dynamic tension with numerous horizontals. Kline’s gestural black-and-white paintings elicited comparisons to calligraphy. He knew that art form through multiple sources, including the Japanese avant-garde journal Bokubi (Beauty of Ink), but he was quick to distinguish his painting style, asserting in 1958, "I paint the white as well as the black, and the white is just as important."

Black, White, and Gray, Franz Kline (American, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1910–1962 New York), Oil on canvas

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.