Franz Kline

Franz Kline was born in Pennsylvania in 1910. In high school he became interested in illustration, and he continued his education as a draftsman at Boston University from 1931-35. He then moved to London to continue his studies, returning the US and moving to New York in 1939. Influenced by Willem de Kooning and Robert Motherwell, in 1946 Kline began generalizing his subjects, creating compositions that emphasized calligraphic line. De Kooning enlarged some of Kline’s sketches using a projector in 1948, showing the artist the dramatic effects and power of his abstracted lines. His first solo show was held in 1950 at the Charles Egan Gallery in New York, allowing him to present his signature style of thick expressive black brushstrokes over a white canvas ground. Kline’s works played a major part in defining abstract expressionism. He taught at Black Mountain College and Pratt Institute during the 1950s, and he was included in the Museum of Modern Art’s 1958 exhibition, “The New American Painting”. He sadly passed away in 1962 due to a rheumatic heart condition.

Franz Kline is featured in Edition: The Best of the Met

Nijinsky (1950)
Study for "Flanders" (1961)
Untitled (ca. 1950-52)