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Yves Klein

Klein, Yves, 1928–62, French painter. With critic Pierre Restany, he was a leader of the avant-garde movement called Nouveau Réalisme (founded 1960). In the 1950s Klein began to work in monochromes, creating abstract paintings in various single hues, and from 1957 on he worked only in a powdery textured ultramarine blue he called International Klein Blue (IKB), a color he created in 1956. He was perhaps best known for using nude models as "living paintbrushes," covering them in IKB and rolling or pressing them onto paper or canvas to make paintings. Other Klein creations included The Void, an empty art gallery; a photograph of the artist leaping blithely into space; fountains made of water and flame; and paintings created with flame throwers or by exposing canvas to rainy weather. Many consider him a pioneer of minimalism and a forerunner of conceptual art.

K. Ottmann, ed., Overcoming the Problematics of Art: The Writings of Yves Klein (2007); studies by H. Weitemeier (2001), P. Noever and F. Perrin (2004), P. Restany (2d ed., 2005), K. Ottmann (2010), R. Pincus-Witten and R. Klein-Moquey (2010), and K. Brougher et al. (museum catalog, 2010).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: European Art, 1600 to the Present: Biographies


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