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|| international klein blue: the man behind the hue ||


Posted on October 21 2014

One shade making waves this summer is International Klein Blue (or IKB as it is known in art circles) a deep blue hue first mixed by the French artist and generally interesting fellow, Yves Klein. IKB was developed by Klein as part of his search for colors which best represented the concepts he wished to convey as an artist. Klein (28 April 1928 – 6 June 1962) was considered an important figure in post-war European art and the most influential and controversial artist to emerge in the 1950s in France. He was the leading member of the artistic movement Nouveau Réalisme and is regarded as a pioneer in the development of Performance art, Minimal art and Pop art. Born 1928 in Nice in the home of his maternal grandparents, his father Fred Klein was Dutch of Indonesian extraction and a great influence to Klein as a figurative painter. His mother, was also well-known abstract painter. The Kleins lived in Paris but spent every summer at Cagnes-sur-Mer, a gorgeous coastal town on the outskirts of Nice. This is also where Klein discovered the sport of Judo, a subject that later in life he would write a book and teach to others, not a claim many French artists could boast I'm sure. Although Klein had worked with blue extensively in his earlier career, it was not until 1958 that he used it as the central component of a piece (the color effectively becoming the art). Klein embarked on a series of monochromatic works using IKB as the central theme. These included performance art where Klein painted models' naked bodies and had them walk, roll and sprawl upon blank canvases. Klein also hosted a controversial exhibition that year with a lengthy title I will edit down to  just: The Void. Klein removed everything in the gallery space except a large cabinet, painted every surface white, and then staged an elaborate entrance procedure for the opening night. Thanks to an enormous publicity drive, 3000 people were forced to queue up, waiting to be let into an empty room which needless to say left a few people miffed at the anti-climax of blank walls.  

 IKB 79 1959 by Yves Klein 1928-1962

Fast forward to today and here at Willows we are loving this bold blue hue as its appearing on a range of wares for the coming season. Some of our favourite in store Artists draw, albeit subconsciously, from artists like Klein, his peers and era's that explored abstraction. Inject some intense colour in a other wise stark room with a few strategically placed key pieces; remember such an electric colour only needs a slight touch! IKB works magically with this summers soft pastel palette.  Warm peachy tones are the yin to IKB's cool yang.

Need inspiration? Head to our Pinterest Page dedicated to this colour for ideas on how to hue!



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