Yves Klein

Eyridiki Sellou | Dec 23, 2022

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Yves Klein was a French artist, born on April 28, 1928 in Nice and died on June 6, 1962 in the 14th district of Paris.

In 1954, he turned definitively to art and began his "Monochrome Adventure".

In his quest for immateriality and infinity, Yves Klein adopted ultramarine blue as a vehicle for this more-than-blue blue, which he named "IKB" (International Klein Blue).

From his monochromes, to the emptiness, to the "technique of the living brushes" or "Anthropometry", to the use of the elements of nature in order to manifest their creative force or the gold that he uses as a passage towards the absolute, he has conceived a work that crosses the borders of conceptual art, body art and the happening.

Just before dying at the age of 34 from a heart attack, Yves Klein confided to a friend: "I am going to enter the largest studio in the world. And I will only make immaterial works". https:

Born in Nice in 1928 to painter parents Fred Klein (1898-1990) and Marie Raymond (1908-1988), who lived between Paris and Nice during his childhood, Yves Klein was a self-taught artist. He did not immediately turn to an artistic career and studied at the École Nationale de la Marine Marchande and the École Nationale des Langues Orientales in Nice from 1944 to 1946.

In 1947, as a young man, he worked in Nice, in the bookshop that his aunt Rose Raymond had set up for him in her store. During the summer, Yves Klein met Claude Pascal and Armand Fernandez, the future Arman, at the judo club of the Nice police headquarters, a discipline which, at the time, was considered as much a method of intellectual and moral education aimed at self-control as a sport. United by a great attraction for physical exercise, they all three aspired to the "Adventure" of travel, creation and spirituality. Judo was for Yves the first experience of the "spiritual" space. On the beach in Nice, the three friends chose to "share the world": Armand had the earth and its riches, Claude Pascal the air and Yves the sky and its infinity.

While reading The Cosmogony of the Rosicrucians by Max Heindel, he also discovered Rosicrucian mysticism in 1947. The esoteric teaching of the Rosicrucian Fellowship, of which he became a member until 1953, via the center of Oceanside in California, as well as the reading of Gaston Bachelard, will forge the bases of the thought which will nourish his work.

Attracted by travel, between 1948 and 1954 he made several trips abroad, first to Italy where, in 1950, Lucio Fontana produced his first monochromes, but which he drilled, entitled "Concetto spaziale" (spatial concept) and founded spatialism, then to England, from December 2, 1949 to November 25, 1950, where he perfected his English and worked with the framer Robert Savage, who introduced him to gilding, and then to Ireland, Spain, and finally to Japan. His first pictorial experiments were small monochromes, which he produced and exhibited privately in 1950, during his stay in London. At the same time, he imagined a Monoton-Silence Symphony and wrote film scripts about art.

On February 3, 1951, Yves Klein left to study Spanish in Madrid, where he enrolled in a judo club. He replaced an instructor and from then on filled in regularly, becoming very close to the director of the school, Fernando Franco de Sarabia, whose father was a publisher. After only five years of practicing judo, Yves Klein, who dreamed of making it his profession, decided to go to Japan to perfect his skills. On August 22, 1952, Klein embarked in Marseille on the liner La Marseillaise and arrived in Yokohama on September 23, 1952, which he left on January 4, 1954 to return to Marseille on February 4, 1954. He practiced judo at the Kōdōkan Institute in Tokyo where he became 4th dan. At that time, judo could have been his destiny because he devoted all his time to it and published a book in French on judo in order to spread the existence of this martial art.

He organized exhibitions of his parents on the spot: Marie Raymond exhibited with Fred Klein at the Franco-Japanese Institute in Tokyo from February 20 to 22, 1953, then alone at the Museum of Modern Art in Kamakura, and again with Fred Klein in November at the Bridgestone Museum of Art in Tokyo. It was also in 1953 that the first exhibition of the Discussion Group of Contemporary Art was held, in Jiro Yoshihara's studio in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, with some of his students including Shōzō Shimamoto, which constituted the beginnings of the Gutai movement. In his Gutai art manifesto of December 1956, Yoshihara thus specifies that the principles of this movement, a precursor of performance art, were actually initiated three years earlier. Atsuko Tanaka, also a member of the Gutai group, exhibited monochrome sheets in 1955. In the early 1960s, he introduced the Gutai artists to his friends in the ZERO Group who exhibited with them in Europe.

Back in Paris in January 1954, Yves Klein founded his own judo school in Fontenay-aux-Roses, tried in vain to have his Japanese grade approved by the French Judo Federation, then decided to leave France again for Madrid, where Fernando Franco de Sarabia called him. He became technical director of the Spanish Judo Federation.

The first public presentation of Klein's work was the publication of the artist's book "Yves Peintures" on November 18, 1954, followed by Haguenault Peintures, collections produced and edited by the engraving workshop of Fernando Franco de Sarabia, in Jaén. Parodying a traditional catalog, the book presents a series of intense monochromes related to various cities where he had lived during the previous years. The preface of Yves Peintures is composed of black lines instead of text. The ten color plates consist of single-color rectangles cut from paper, dated and accompanied by dimensions in millimeters. Each plate indicates a different place of creation: Madrid, Nice, Tokyo, London, Paris.

Yves Klein returned to Paris in November 1954 after publishing a treatise on the six katas of judo entitled "The Foundations of Judo" on October 25, 1954, with the help of Igor Correa Luna. In September 1955, he opened his own judo school in Paris, at 104 boulevard de Clichy, which he decorated with monochromes, but had to close it the following year.

When, in May 1955, he wanted to exhibit his monochrome painting Expression de l'univers de la couleur mine orange (M 60) at the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles held at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, he was refused and asked to add a second color, a dot or a line, so that the painting could be declared "abstract", the general trend of this exhibition. But Klein remained steadfast in his idea that pure color represents "something" in itself.

His first exhibition of monochrome paintings took place at the Club des Solitaires on October 15, 1955, and went virtually unnoticed. He exhibited monochromes of different colors (orange, green, red, yellow, blue, pink), under the title "Yves, paintings". In order to avoid any personal touch, the works are painted with a roller: "Already in the past, I had refused the brush, which was too psychological, in order to paint with a roller, which was more anonymous, and thus try to create a "distance", at least intellectual, constant, between the canvas and myself, during the execution. Also in 1955, Claude Bellegarde exhibited his series of monochromes "White Period" at the Studio Fachetti gallery in Paris. Pierre Restany became interested in monochrome paintings and founded the group "Espaces Imaginaires" with Gianni Bertini, Hundertwasser, Bruning, Halpern and the sculptor Delahaye. He then introduced Bellegarde to Yves Klein, who had already begun to produce and paint his own monochromes.

At the beginning of 1956, Klein met Pierre Restany at his second exhibition entitled "Yves: propositions monochromes", which took place from February 21 to March 7, 1956, in the Parisian gallery of Colette Allendy. With this art critic, he established an intense contact, a tacit understanding, and this relationship became an experience of "direct communication" that would mark a decisive turning point in the understanding of his art. In his preface, Pierre Restany explained to the visitors the theoretical background of the new concept. The problem of working with a single color entered the cultural consciousness of Paris. Klein became famous as "Yves le Monochrome".

In the fall of 1956, he created IKB, International Klein Blue, which is, for him, "the most perfect expression of blue" (see below) and the symbol of the materialization of individual sensitivity, between infinite and immediate extent.

From January 2 to 12, 1957, his first exhibition abroad, Proposte monocrome, epoca blu, was held at the Galerie Apollinaire in Milan, where 11 IKB monochromes of identical size (78 × 56 cm), but of different prices, were hung 20 cm from the wall by brackets to produce an effect of saturation of space, and one of which was acquired by Lucio Fontana. It was followed, in May 1957, by a double exhibition in Paris, on the one hand at the Galerie Iris Clert, "Yves, Propositions monochromes", from May 10 to 25, and on the other at the Galerie Colette Allendy, "Pigment pur", from May 14 to 23.

On May 31, 1957, the Alfred Schmela (de) Gallery in Düsseldorf opened its doors with the exhibition Yves, Propositions monochromes, which later became the main exhibition space for the ZERO Group. From 1957 to 1959, he made his first sponge reliefs in Germany for the foyer of the Gelsenkirchen Theater.

From June 4 to July 13, 1957, the exhibition Monochrome Propositions of Yves Klein was presented at Gallery One in London. On June 26, during a debate organized with Klein and Restany at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, a polemic took on unforeseen proportions. The English press widely echoed the scandal caused by the exhibition.

"My paintings are now invisible", he declared then. And, in fact, his May 1957 exhibition at the Colette Allendy gallery included an entirely empty room entitled Spaces and volumes of immaterial pictorial sensitivity. On June 5, 1958, he organized his first public experience of "living brushes" in Robert J. Godet's apartment on the Ile Saint-Louis.

On October 27, 1960, in his apartment at 14 rue Campagne-Première in Paris, he participated in the creation of the Nouveau Réalisme, signing the "Constitutive Declaration of the Nouveau Réalisme" with Pierre Restany, who drafted it, Arman, Raymond Hains, Martial Raysse, Daniel Spoerri, Jean Tinguely, Jacques Villeglé and François Dufrêne.

In April 1961, he went to New York for the first time, where his IKB monochromes, which had already appeared in the exhibition New Forms - New Media held at the Martha Jackson Gallery from June 6 to 24 and from September 28 to October 22, 1960, were presented from April 11 to 29 in the exhibition Yves Klein le Monochrome at the Leo Castelli Gallery.

Following the poor reception of his works, both by critics and by American artists at his conferences, he wrote his Chelsea Hotel Manifesto to justify his approach. From May 29 to June 24, 1961 his exhibition was also presented at the Dwan Gallery in Los Angeles.

On January 21, 1962, Yves Klein married a young German artist, Rotraut Uecker, whom he had met at Arman's in 1958, and who was the sister of one of the founding members of the ZERO Group, with whom he had become close since 1958.

The wedding ceremony, orchestrated by the artist in the church of Saint-Nicolas des Champs in Paris, is followed by a hedge of honor formed at the exit of the church by knights of the order of the Archers of Saint Sebastian and then a reception at La Coupole, where a blue cocktail is served to the guests, the reception ends in the workshop of Larry Rivers

Klein died of a heart attack on June 6, 1962, two months before the birth of his son on August 6. He had first fallen ill on May 12, 1962, after the screening of the film Mondo cane by Paolo Cavara and Gualtiero Jacopetti at the Cannes Film Festival: Klein was described as a "Czechoslovakian painter" and one of his public performances of "anthropometry of the blue era", made for this film on July 17 and 18, 1961, inserted in a succession of astonishing sequences, was ridiculed and distorted.

He rests in the cemetery of La Colle-sur-Loup in the Alpes-Maritimes.


Inspired by the sky he had signed with his name on the beach in Nice in 1946, he wanted to paint an infinite color-space: the "world of pure color".

Yves Klein painted monochromes because he favored the expression of sensitivity rather than figuration in form: "To paint space, I have to get there, in that very space. Without tricks or trickery, neither in a plane nor in a parachute or rocket: must go there by itself, with an autonomous individual force, in a word it must be able to levitate" and "Never by the line has it been possible to create in painting a fourth, fifth or any other dimension; only color can attempt to achieve this feat.

International Klein Blue

In 1956, with the help of the Parisian color dealer Edouard Adam and a chemist from Rhône-Poulenc, he used a fixing medium (using a synthetic resin called Rhodopas) that shrank as it dried, revealing the pure pigment. Ultramarine blue is thus perceived in all its original identity, whereas the traditional binders which allow to fix the pigments on the support always deteriorate their brightness.

From 1957, he chooses to paint in blue because it is the most abstract color according to him: "The blue has no dimension, it is out of dimension, while the other colors they have. All the colors bring associations of concrete ideas while the blue recalls at most the sea and the sky, what there is of more abstract in the tangible and visible nature.

In May 1957, Yves Klein celebrated the advent of the "blue era" with the double exhibition Propositions monochromes in Paris, announced by the sending of blue postcards stamped with IKB stamps that Klein had managed to have accepted by the postal services, with his first fire painting composed of a blue monochrome on which 16 Bengal lights were fixed at the Colette Allendy gallery and a release of 1,001 balloons on the evening of the opening at the Iris Clert gallery. This gesture, which Klein would later describe as "aerostatic sculpture", would be reproduced 50 years later on the square of the Beaubourg Center, on the occasion of the closing of the exhibition that the National Museum of Modern Art devoted to him in 2006-2007.

On May 19, 1960, Yves Klein registered the formula for his invention at the Institut national de la propriété industrielle (INPI), under Soleau envelope no. 63 471, which he named IKB, "International Klein Blue". It describes the binder which is made of an original fluid paste substituted for the oil traditionally used in painting, and which fixes ultramarine blue pigment.

Sponge Sculptures and Sponge Reliefs

Yves Klein began by using natural sponges in his work before definitively opting for roller painting in 1956. He said in 1957 that the extraordinary ability of the sponge to impregnate itself with anything fluid seduced him. He noticed the beauty of the blue in the sponge and this work instrument became a raw material for him.

From then on he worked on his first sponge reliefs, studies for the foyer project of the Gelsenkirchen Theater. From 1957 to 1959 Klein was immensely encouraged in the expansion of his activities by his collaboration in the construction of the Gelsenkirchen Theater. Music, theater, and the idea of the total work of art were decisive impulses for him, as he worked on sponge reliefs in dimensions that were quite unusual at the time. In December 1959, the opening of the theater marked the official triumph of "monochromy". The space is entirely marked by Klein's blue. According to Klein, he succeeded in making this interior space a place of magical enchantment for the public.

He would later create Sponge Reliefs and Sponge Sculptures, meant to represent the viewers of his works impregnated by the intensity of IKB blue. He declared in 1958: "Thanks to sponges, a living wild material, I was going to be able to make portraits of the readers of my monochromes who, after having seen, after having traveled in the blue of my paintings, come back totally impregnated with sensitivity like sponges.


In 1958, he repainted in white the walls of the Parisian gallery Iris Clert as part of the "Exhibition of the Void" (The specialization of sensitivity in the raw material state in stabilized pictorial sensitivity, The Void). The "Anthropometries", prints of naked women's bodies and coated with blue color on white canvas will appear in 1960. Many "Anthropometries" were filmed as real events, and can be seen in some museums (Centre Pompidou among others).

Towards a union of the international Vanguard

Following his exhibition "Proposition monochrome, Époque bleue" at the Apollinaire Gallery in Milan in January 1957, the former painter Alfred Schmela (de) decided to exhibit Yves Klein in May 1957 for the inauguration of his gallery in Düsseldorf, at a time when the general climate was still one of abstract expressionism and, more particularly in Europe, of the trend towards informal art known as lyric abstraction. This gallery soon became the main place for the orchestration of the ZERO Group founded by Heinz Mack, Otto Piene and Günther Uecker, whose sister Rotraut Klein married four and a half months before his death on January 21, 1962.

Klein was one of the first Frenchmen to exhibit in Germany in the post-war period, when the two countries were locked in a total absence of communication and exchange on the artistic level. In fact, Heinz Mack had already come to visit Yves Klein in his Paris studio at the end of 1955, during which he also met Jean Tinguely, who would later become involved in the ZERO Group. At the end of the 1950s, Klein made frequent trips to Germany, in particular for the work he was doing for the Gelsenkirchen Opera House. Gradually, links were forged with the Düsseldorf group, to which he felt increasingly close. Klein even exhibited with the German artists for the first time in April 1958 at their seventh "one-night exhibition". This was the beginning of a collaboration that was to become increasingly international. That same year, Piero Manzoni, who was also very interested in the work of Klein and Lucio Fontana, which he had seen in Milan, traveled to the Netherlands, where he made contact with the future Dutch artists of the NUL Group, who were close to ZERO, led by Herman de Vries, Jan Schoonhoven (nl), Armando (nl), Jan Henderikse (nl) and Henk Peeters (en).

Gradually, this international network of the European Avant-Garde was organized until the spring of 1959, when Tinguely organized the exhibition "Motion in Vision - Vision in Motion" in Antwerp. This was the real unifying exhibition of the group, which brought together, among others, Bury, Mack, Manzoni, Piene, Soto, Spoerri and Klein, who performed by declaring that his only physical presence on the site assigned to him was the work corresponding to his contribution. It is here that he will pronounce these now famous words, borrowed from Gaston Bachelard: "First there is nothing, then there is a deep nothing, then a blue depth".

The ZERO current is affirmed. From then on, many collective exhibitions took place, bringing together the artistic communities of the four main cities: Amsterdam, Düsseldorf, Milan and Paris, notably the one held at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in March 1962, in which Klein, disagreeing with the title "Monochromes", refused to take part, and then again in 1965, where he was represented post-mortem, as well as Yayoi Kusama and the members of the Japanese group Gutai, the pioneers of contemporary performance, whom Klein had previously introduced to the other movements of the network. From the beginning of the 1960s, Lucio Fontana even exhibited with this young generation, who, strengthened by his work as a theorist, saw him as a spiritual father. His participation in the ZERO movement was in a way the consecration of the group, or at least a major support from this figure, who at that time was already recognized in contemporary art.

"It is not by chance that artistic individualities as strong as Manzoni, Klein or Piene meet and work together. The substratum of this phenomenon is a common intuition that founds their personal relations and their research".

Nevertheless, the similar death by heart attack of Klein, leader of the New Realism, in June 1962 and 8 months later of Manzoni, precursor of the Arte Povera theorized in 1967, two of the three main theorists of this new international avant-garde along with Heinz Mack, will strongly hinder this emerging European collaboration; while the Dutch NUL Group will be disbanded after the great 1965 exhibition of all of these movements organized at the Stedelijk Museum. In 2015, the Stedelijk Museum organized a retrospective to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this landmark exhibition, entitled ZERO, Let Us Explore the Stars.

His relationship to the body

Yves Klein's approach cannot be understood without the background of self-discipline, intuitive communication and mastery of the body that Judo implies. Klein had a very particular relationship with the body in his artistic activity. This relationship is situated on several levels:

First of all, the presence of naked bodies (the vast majority of them female) in his studio, which are necessary for the creation of his monochromes with his color IKB blue. This nudity, he uses it to, he says, "stabilize the pictorial matter" (extract from Dimanche). He often declares: "this flesh, therefore, present in the studio, stabilized me for a long time during the illumination caused by the execution of the monochromes".

He did not paint from a model like the figurative artists, but in their company, which, according to him, made him feel: "a good-natured atmosphere", "a sensual climate", or "a pure emotional climate". This sensation is made explicit in one of Klein's quotes where he describes it: "My models laughed a lot to see me execute splendid, well-blended blue monochromes after them! They laughed, but more and more felt attracted to blue.

Klein soon realized that their mere presence in his studio was insufficient. Even if, according to him, they impregnated the atmosphere they created in the monochromes, this impregnation would be even more successful if the models themselves painted the monochrome.

These works, which we call "anthropometries", follow, where the body, this time in the painting, plays the same role of "stabilizing" the pictorial material. A first public session (in small committee) was organized at Robert Godet's on June 5, 1958. This session remained in continuity with the monochromes but constituted the second stage in the evolution of the body in his art. During this session, a single female model acts like a "living brush" on the canvas, her body coated with color. The model crawled on the sheet of paper on the floor under the eye of Yves Klein, who directed her and invited her to go over the places where the paint had not yet been applied. All of the model's gestures have been rehearsed beforehand and Klein gives the initiative either to himself or to the model according to his various writings.

Klein refers to this exercise as "collaboration". This word is very often present and repeated in these texts like an obsession. He declares: "I never touched them, and that's why they trusted me and liked to collaborate, and still like to collaborate in this way, with their whole body in my painting."

He said he saw "the marks of the body appear at each session, which disappeared very quickly because everything had to become monochrome". This quote evokes his second activity, Judo, where he could observe the marks of the sweaty bodies of judokas on the dusty white mats, during the big fights, or a type of Japanese drawing made from fish prints. This decision to undertake the anthropometries is also due to an event of his time that marked him: the traces of people left on the walls during the explosion in Hiroshima, of which he will also make an anthropometry. On this canvas, one can observe several traces of bodies in movement

In this relationship of movement, Klein states that, compared to the figuratives, he liberated the female nude models, because he let them act on his work, while they created their works from their immobile bodies. Among them was Elena Palumbo Mosca, who collaborated with him on twenty works between 1960 and 1962. It should be noted, however, that Yves Klein never paid these women, who nevertheless helped him to create paintings that sold for millions of dollars.

Only the monochromes created with living brushes did not allow the presence of flesh to be perceived. This is why Klein progressively developed the procedure of the imprints left by a model on a support. After several attempts, he felt that he had perfected this technique and presented it to Pierre Restany. On February 23, 1960, in front of the critic accompanied by a museum director, a model whose bust, belly and thighs had been smeared with blue paint, made an imprint of her colored body on sheets of paper placed on the floor. It was at this session that Restany coined the term "anthropometries of the blue era. Klein organized a party at the Galerie Internationale d'Art Contemporain in Paris on March 9, 1960, in front of a hundred guests, including artists, critics, art lovers and collectors.

Klein, dressed in evening clothes, gave a signal to the nine musicians present next door to begin the Monoton-Silence Symphony, composed by himself in 1949, a single continuous note of twenty minutes followed by twenty minutes of silence. During this time, three women begin to smear their breasts, stomachs and thighs with blue color. They then perform various anthropometries, the most famous of which is entitled "Anthropometry of the Blue Period" (ANT 100), 1960. He makes rehearsals, organizes the staging, invites photographers and cameramen that he knows, controls the diffusion of the images. Nevertheless, even if he thought he was doing everything to make his new techniques clear, misunderstandings arose and he appeared to some to be masochistic or obscene.

He also made a series of "portrait-reliefs", life-size casts of other members of the New Realism movement, painted in IKB blue and standing out on a gilded panel, which he did not have time to complete, or used plaster statuettes of famous sculptures, such as the Victory of Samothrace and the Venus de Milo painted in IKB.

Thereafter, he diversified his methods and differentiated between static and dynamic anthropometries. When creating the "static" ones, the woman's body is simply placed like a stamp on the support and leaves its imprint there. These static prints of women and sometimes men were often grouped together to form, if not a composition, at least a whole. The anthropometries carried out on fabrics refer to an object of worship which is the shroud of Turin.

In the negative images, such as "Hiroshima", the paint is projected and the model's body is used as a stencil. Dynamic anthropometry consists in making a model crawl on the support, leaving behind a dynamic trace. He has also invited several models to simulate a battle where the bodies are no longer so distinguishable. The process itself is conceived as a ritual. It is a ritual of passage from the white canvas to the flesh: "it was the flesh itself that applied the color to the support under my direction" and then from the flesh to the invisible. By reusing the IKB blue, he takes back the color, reuses the space conquered by the immaterial and avoids the resemblance to pink. Klein also chooses not to represent the hands for the following reasons: "It was not necessary for the hands to be printed, it would have given a shocking humanism to the compositions I was looking for." "Of course, the whole body is made up of flesh, but the essential mass is the trunk and the thighs. That's where the real universe hidden by the universe of perception is." (this view is close to Japanese notions which are Katas and Hara).

At the beginning of 1961 Klein produced the series of Fire Paintings, in which he sought to imprint the traces of fire on various media. Alberto Burri had already used the power of this element in 1954-1955 in his Combustioni series made up of layers of burnt plastic. It was at the Gaz de France test center in Plaine-Saint-Denis, where he was provided with industrial equipment, that he learned to master fire and to make precise adjustments to use its different degrees of power.

In these Fire Paintings, as in the Cosmogonies, prints of rain and wind on canvas, which he produced from 1960 onwards, the artist summoned the elements of nature in order to manifest their creative force. But here he combined the natural element with the body, the Fire Paintings being made with the help of nude models that Klein used in turn. He moistens the support around the body to determine the parts that will remain in reserve and completes the fire traces with paint prints. Thus mixing the two techniques, Klein plays with the fullness and emptiness of the forms drawn alternately in negative and positive.

Thus the prints of women's bodies were revealed under the action of fire. Anthropometries then serve as a two-way passage from the visible to the invisible, from the material to the spiritual and from the carnal to the divine. They do so in the spectacular absence of the artist.

With his Cosmogonies, the artist subjects the canvas to the elements, on the roof of his car, during his travels. In collaboration with the architects Claude Parent and Werner Ruhnau, he imagines in his Architectures of the air vast constructions with the roof maintained in levitation by pulsed air, intended to maintain a temperate and controlled environment, where the man, as in a recovered Eden, would not be subjected any more to the climatic hazards.

He also paints in IKB plaster planetary reliefs of France as well as globes, delighted to learn that seen from space the Earth should appear blue.

Three months before his death, the exhibition "Antagonisms II: the object", presented on March 7, 1962 at the Museum of Decorative Arts, exposes models of the Architecture of the air and the pneumatic Rocket realized with the help of the designer Roger Tallon. In a diorama a simulated rain is diverted by a blade of air; while the Rocket, a kind of small spacecraft moved by air pulsation, is intended to disappear into the vacuum of space.

Fire, air, water, earth, the four terrestrial elements are thus put to contribution. But the premature death of the artist interrupts his research and experiments on the architecture of air and on the theme of space exploration.

Blue is not the only color present in the anthropometries, which can be different as in one of these first anthropometries, ANT121, dated around 1960, which is golden on a black background. The golden monochromes called Monogold are essentially composed of gold leaf, which represents access to the immaterial, the absolute and eternity. Klein also painted pink monochromes called Monopink.

He states, for his anthropometries created using fire, that "fire is blue, gold and pink too. These are the three basic colors in monochrome painting, and for me, it is a universal principle of explanation, of explanation of the world. The three basic colors blue, gold and pink in his work also articulate each other perfectly in the fire. Indeed, when we look at the color of a flame, we distinguish well these three colors.

He made various triptychs using these three primary colors and will also bring them together in sculptures such as Ci-git l'Espace (MNAM, Paris) consisting of a funeral slab covered with gold leaf, a crown in IKB sponge and roses. Finally, his work Ex-voto, made for the sanctuary of Rita in Cascia, will be the conclusion of his work, bringing together all his ideas in a single work composed of his three colors pink, blue and gold.

Yves Klein is, through his work and his posture, one of the great figures of French and international contemporary art. He was ahead of his time and aware of the radical nature of his position. He opened the art on the immaterial. For him, gold, pink and blue are one and the same color and form a complete "chromatic trilogy".









  1. Yves Klein
  2. Yves Klein
  3. Sa mère Marie Raymond est alors membre du jury du Salon.
  4. Vidéo : « Yves Klein humilié dans Mondo Cane »
  5. ^ "Yves Klein". Biography. Archived from the original on 21 March 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  6. French // (unspecified title)
  7. 1 2 3 4 Artnet — 1998.
  8. RKDartists (нидерл.)
  9. «El nuevo realismo». Centre Pompidou Málaga. septiembre de 2016. Consultado el 22 de septiembre de 2019.
  10. Círculo Bellas Artes (octubre de 2010). «Yves Klein». Madrid. Consultado el 22 de septiembre de 2019.
  11. Hannah Weitemeier (de), Yves Klein, 1928–1962: Internacional Klein Blue, traducido por Carmen Sánchez Rodríguez (Cologne, Lisbon, Paris: Taschen, 2001), 8. ISBN 3-8228-5842-0.
  12. Gilbert Perlein & Bruno Corà (eds) & al., Yves Klein: Long Live the Immaterial! ("An anthological retrospective", catalog of an exhibition held in 2000), New York: Delano Greenidge, 2000, ISBN 978-0-929445-08-3, p. 226

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