© Express Newspapers/Getty Images
Yves Klein

© Express Newspapers/Getty Images

Yves Klein

Born in 1928 in Nice (France), died in 1962 in Paris (France) 


Yves Klein was driven by a quest for the immaterial and totally disrupted the relationship between painting and the body, space and colour. A particularly intense ultramarine blue, which Klein named IKB (International Klein Blue) became a hallmark of his work.

Born into a family of painters, Klein developed an extensive body of work in the space of a few years, while practising judo and researching the cosmogony of the Rosicrucians.  His first show in 1955 featured monochrome canvases in different colours. In 1957, Klein established the key elements of his artistic vocabulary, with monochrome, air, fire and water playing a central role, and presented 11 monochromes in Milan. The following year, his exhibition Le Vide (“The Void”) at the Iris Clert Gallery demonstrated his conception of art as a “pictorial sensibility”, in which he promoted the dematerialisation of the work. Although he was associated with the manifesto of Pierre Restany’s Nouveau Réalisme group (1960), he worked independently. His spatial preoccupations are embodied in the Anthropométries of his blue era, when he used female models as "living brushes" during performances.

Selected Bibliography

Prot, Frédéric, Smith, Patti. Yves Klein : embrasure, 2012.

Klein-Moquay, Rotraut ; Pincus-Witten, Robert ; Perrot, Constance... [et al.]. Yves Klein USA. Paris : Ed. Dilecta, 2009.

Morineau, Camille, Centre national d'art et de culture Georges Pompidou (Paris). Yves Klein : corps, couleur, immatériel : [exposition, Paris, Centre Pompidou, 5 octobre 2006-5 février 2007; Vienne, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, 9 mars-3 juin 2007]. Paris : Centre Georges Pompidou, 2006.

Klein, Yves ; Sichère, Marie-Anne ; Semin, Didier. Le dépassement de la problématique de l'art et autres écrits. Paris : Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, 2003. (Ecrits d'artistes).

Perlein, Gilbert, Corà, Bruno, Buisine, Alain...[et al]. Yves Klein : la vie, la vie elle-même qui est l'art absolu [exposition, Nice, Musée d'art moderne et d'art contemporain, 28 avril - 4 septembre 2000 ; Prato, Centro per l'Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, 23 septembre 2000 - 10 janvier 2001]. Nice : Musée d'art moderne et contemporain de Nice, 2000.

***   All materials available at the Documentation Centre of the Fondation   ***

Share this Page