Franz Kline

Franz Kline, 1910–62, American painter, b. Wilkes-Barre, Pa. He studied (1937–38) in England, then settled in New York City. His first works were representational, often portraying the industrial landscapes of Pennsylvania's coal and steel towns. From 1950 on, however, Kline created large canvases of dynamically painted abstractions—shafts of jutting black on fields of scumbled white. His works often recall Chinese calligraphy but he himself denied Asian influence. His subsequent works, sometimes with notes of bright color, established his reputation as one of the most important figures in abstract expressionism.

See museum catalogs ed. by C. Christov-Bakargiev et al. (2004) and R. S. Mattison and I. Sandler (2013); memoir by F. Dawson (1967); H. Gaugh, The Vital Gesture: Franz Kline (1985).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Franz Kline: Selected full-text books and articles

American Artists on Art from 1940 to 1980 By Ellen H. Johnson Westview Press, 1982
Librarian’s tip: "Franz Kline (1910-1962)" begins on p. 23
The Triumph of American Painting: A History of Abstract Expressionism By Irving Sandler Harper & Row, 1976
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 19 "The Later Gesture Painters"
The Vital Gesture: Franz Kline in Retrospect By Danto, Arthur Coleman The Nation, Vol. 243, September 6, 1986
Franz Kline By Danto, Arthur Coleman The Nation, Vol. 260, No. 8, February 27, 1995
The New York School: The Painters and Sculptors of the Fifties By Irving Sandler Harper & Row, 1978
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "The Colonization of Gesture Painting"
Franz Kline: The Menil Collection By Shiff, Richard Artforum International, Vol. 33, No. 4, December 1994
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