Kline, Franz

Kline, Franz,

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 expressionismabstract expressionism,
movement of abstract painting that emerged in New York City during the mid-1940s and attained singular prominence in American art in the following decade; also called action painting and the New York school.
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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).

Kline, Franz (Josef)

(1910–62) painter; born in Wilkes Barre, Pa. After attending Boston University (1931–35), he traveled to London and studied at Heatherly's Art School (1937–38). Upon his return to America he settled in New York City. After progressing through a variety of styles, he became famous by 1950 for his black-and-white paintings. His abstract expressionist approach, utilizing a furiously energetic line, as seen in Wanamaker Block (1955), became instantly recognizable throughout the art world.
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