*1928 in Nice, France
†1962 in Paris, France
Yves Klein was a leading member of the French Nouveau Réalisme movement and is seen as an inspiration to and as a forerunner of minimalism, pop art and performance art. His trademarked blue tone, International Klein Blue, alongside his signature monochromes and fire paintings are universally recognized for their mark on modern art. Beginning his career in Judo, he became the first European to reach the high rank of yodan. Klein turned to fully to his art practice in 1954 when he published a satirical catalogue raisonne of his monochrome paintings, titled Yves Peintures. Continuing his interest in immateriality and purity of form, his 1958 exhibition at the Iris Clert Gallery featured an empty gallery. His next series, Anthropometries, would have the artist directing female models – ‘living paintbrushes’ – to imprint themselves against a canvas with his trademarked blue paint. Klein was a signatory to the Pierre Restany’s 1960 manifesto for the Nouveaux Réalistes group, alongside Arman, Daniel Spoerri, Jean Tinguely, and others. In 1961, Klein was given a retrospective at the Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany, before he died of a heart attack in 1962. Some of the numerous public collections which feature his work include the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Britain, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and the National Gallery, Washington, DC.