32¢ Franz Kline
Four Centuries of American Art
Issue Date: August 27, 1998
City: Santa Clara, CA
Printed By: Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Photogravure
Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Franz Kline (1910-1962) became a leader in the abstract expressionist movement. His memories of the industrial sights of his hometown would later enter his work.
Kline’s first work was as an illustrator, but he became an abstract expressionist after viewing some of his sketches enlarged by a projector. He felt that his art would be more effective in a larger, more abstract medium. Soon Kline developed a style that was highly spontaneous and based solely on the artist’s “psychic states.” Characterized by the use of commercial paint and thick paintbrushes, Kline’s style quickly evolved into something very different than the style of his past.
At first glance, Kline’s artwork seems quite simple; a group of intersecting thick black lines on a white canvas. A very deliberate artist, he seems to give the spaces between the black lines a certain depth and character. In his paintings, the white is not blank space, but a color. Kline once said, “I paint the white as well as the black and the white is just as important.” In fact, Kline put great thought into his art. He would often sketch his paintings on a small notepad beforehand, so he could be sure they were precise, direct representations of his ideas.