(1910 – 1962), USA

Franz Kline Biography

Kline was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He studied painting in the Art Department, Boston University, 1931-5 and at Heatherley's School in London 1937-8, then settled in New York.

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His early work focused on views of New York in the tradition of Sloan and Glackens, and seated figures. Some of his works from c.1946 began to show an abstract or Cubist structure. His signature style began in 1950 with vigorous large-scale calligraphic abstract paintings in black and white.

Kline's first one-man exhibition at the Egan Gallery, New York, in 1950 quickly led to his recognition as one of the leading Abstract Expressionists. From 1958 he introduced strong colours into some of his works. 

During the 1950s Kline taught at a number of institutions including Black Mountain College in North Carolina and The Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. In 1958 he was included in The Museum of Modern Art’s major exhibition, ‘The New American Painting,’ which toured eight European cities. His work is part of significant public and private collections in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. While Kline’s tragically premature death from a rheumatic heart condition in 1962 left the direction of his artistic vision uncertain, he remains an acknowledged master of abstract expressionism. 

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