Franz Kline: The Vital Gesture

 
9781558597532: Franz Kline: The Vital Gesture
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This work examines the life and work of Franz Kline (1910-1962). Using interviews with Kline's friends and critics, and quoting from the artist's own letters, this book traces Kline's evolution from an ambitious art student to a mature artist in full command of his style.

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About the Author:

Harry F. Gaugh, an art historian specializing in postwar American art, taught at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, until his death in 1992. The leading authority on Franz Kline, Gaugh curated the landmark exhibition The Vital Gesture: Franz Kline in Retrospect. His other books include the volume on Willem de Kooning in Abbeville’s Modern Masters series.

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Excerpt from Franz Kline

Foreword

Abstract Expressionism, an American movement, was a dominant international presence in painting during the 1950s and 60s. It artists turned away from regionalism, storytelling, and literalism that had previously characterized the art of this country. The New York School painters were never grouped formally, nor were they united by a homogeneous style, yet their paintings and drawings generally shared abstraction, large scale, and immediate assertiveness.

Franz Kline (1910 1962) was a giant figure among the Abstract Expressionists, His place in art and in history of twentieth-century painting has not previously been the subject of a major monograph nor an extensive exhibition showing such a wide range of high-quality work. We are grateful to Harry F. Gaugh, associate professor of art history at Skidmore College and noted scholar on Kline and de Kooning, for writing this study and for serving as guest curator of The Vital Gesture: Franz Kline in Retrospect.

The exhibition’s itinerary the Cincinnati Art Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts makes it accessible to appreciate audiences from east to west, and it introduces Kline to generations who have heard about this present-century old master” but have never seen such an impressive array of his works. That so many private collections, museums, foundations, and corporations would part with their Kline paintings and drawings for the duration of the exhibition deserves our heartfelt thanks.

An exhibition on this scale would not be possible without significant financial support from several sources. We are exceedingly grateful to the Central Trust Company, the National Endowment for the Arts, and A.M. Kinney, Inc., for their generous contributions.

The coordinator of the monograph and exhibition and, indeed, the individual responsible for the initiation and implementation of this project was Denny T. Young, curator of painting at the Cincinnati Art Museum. We are indebted to her for all her efforts. We also greatly appreciate the assistance of Frances Martinabli, curatorial assistant, Painting Department, and the many others whose work has brought this project to fruition.

Millard F. Rogers, Jr.
Director, Cincinnati Art Museum

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Gaugh, . F.
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Gaugh, Harry F.
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