Franz Kline American

Not on view

Soon after it was made, this celebrated canvas was shown at the Whitney Museum Annual, and thereafter in almost every retrospective of Kline’s work. During his day, and for long after, Kline was considered a pre-eminent action painter, a key member of the New York School of Abstract Expressionism. This painting, with its bold strokes of black enamel painted with a house-painter’s brush, epitomizes that style. As the critic Paul Brach wrote: “Painting, drawing and writing; the structure and its meaning; the symbol and the physical fact—are all united in a single gesture. And though it is deceptively spontaneous in appearance, that gesture is the millionth try—the final effort with all its failures behind it.” Yet, despite the rhetoric, Kline always worked from small studies, he always made considerable revisions to his canvas, and his art is therefore anything but spontaneous. He painted this work on a window shade.

Untitled, Franz Kline (American, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1910–1962 New York), Enamel on canvas

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