Viewing Room

Alternate Text


Alternate Text



c. 1954
Oil on paper
Signed, dedicated and inscribed lower right: 4th of July/to James. Franz
60,3 x 46,4 cm (23.7 x 18.2 in.)

Gift of the artist to his best friend, the sculptor James Rosati
Estate of Mrs. Carmela Rosati
Mc Kee Gallery, New York
Private collection, Belgium

- Washington D.C., The Phillips Collection, Franz Kline : The Color Abstractions, February 17 – April 8 1979, n° 51, repr. p. 76 (travelling exhibition : Houston, The Institute for the Arts, Rice University, May-July 1979 ; Los Angeles, County Museum of Art, July-September 1979 ; Seattle, Art Museum 1979)
- New York, Van Doren Waxter Gallery, Color(less), October 28-December 23 2015

Price on request

« Well, look, if I paint what 'you' know, then that will simply bore you. If I paint what 'I' know, it will be boring to myself. Therefore I paint what I don't know. » Franz Kline

The pictorial style of the New York artist Franz Kline perfectly incarnates the immediacy that characterizes abstract expressionism. Though he began as a figurative painter, Kline developed his abstract style during the 1950s. First oriented toward black and white, he began introducing color into his palette from 1954-1955 on.

Untitled, c.1954 is a beautiful example of Kline's experiments with color; patches of blue, red, and yellow overlap across a composition structured around a black form. The critic Robert Goldwater described the force of these compositions well: "generated from within, by an immense internal unit, a swath or rectangle, a closed shape or a crossed one, that pushes and extends the perimeter until it has sufficient room to take its proper form." (Robert Goldwater, in William S. Lieberman, An American Choice: The Muriel Kallis Collection, New York, 1981, p. 62)

Franz Kline’s Untitled (1954) exemplifies the Ab Ex artist’s spontaneity and singular voice in bold, primary-colored hues, punctuated by strategic brushwork in signature black paint. The linear quality and employment of negative and positive space that defined so many of his masterpieces, and set him apart from the all-over compositional structure of many of his peers, is entirely evident in this piece, which impacts visual space well beyond its 23 by 18-inch format." (excerpt from Van Doren Waxter Gallery’s website)