That blue: The artist who owned ultramarine
In the mid-Fifties, Yves Klein (1928–1962) declared that “a new world calls for a new man”. With his idiosyncratic style and huge charisma, this bold artist would go on to pursue a brief but bountiful career, producing more than a thousand paintings over seven years, now considered modernist masterpieces.
Klein made his name above all with his large, monochrome canvases in his own, patented hue of blue. International Klein Blue, composed of pure pigment and binding medium, is at once rich and luminous, evocative and decorative, and was conceived by Klein as a means of evoking the immateriality and infinitude of the world.
A pioneer of daring painting techniques, Klein was also renowned for his deployment of “living paintbrushes”, in which naked women, daubed in International Klein Blue, would make imprints of their bodies on large sheets of paper. Often, these Anthropométries were staged as elaborate performances, complete with blue cocktails or Klein's own Monotone Symphony.