Franz Kline

Alternative Name(s): -
Date of Birth: May 23, 1910
Place of Birth: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, USA
Date of Death: May 13, 1962
Focus: Painter
Art movement: Abstract Expressionism
Nationality: American

Famous Franz Kline Artwork

Franz Kline Biography

Known as an important Abstract Expressionist and painter of large scale canvases, Franz Kline has often been associated with the 1940s New York School of this movement. Before his death, he received great recognition; his large black and white paintings, greatly abstracted, have been compared to New York landscapes and Japanese calligraphy and are in extensive museum collections.

His childhood was not an easy one, growing up in a coal mining town that offered no art inspiration. With his father’s suicide when he was seven, he was later sent to live at a home for fatherless boys. These events probably had a large effect on the development of his paintings. One of his later quotes is, “The nature of anguish is translated into different forms.”

Kline did not start out as an abstract painter. He was trained in the traditional style of painting, following the old masters such as Rembrandt. However, a meeting with Wilhelm de Kooning and the vivid excitement of living in New York City began to influence his path towards abstraction. Vigorous brushwork began to mark his works and later became the central focus of his paintings.

He was called an action painter, however, Kline believed that his work could cause a physical engagement with those viewing it. Because of the velocity and intensity of the art, the viewer becomes drawn into the emotion of the canvas. Dramatic effect is heightened and evidenced in his black and white paintings, where background is as important as brushstroke.

During the 1980, interest in his art saw a revival, as he was the influence for a number of artists, as Minimalism became the mode of expression.