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Biography of Yves Klein

See works in the collection

b. 1928, Nice, France

1928
Born on April 28, the son of artists Fred Klein and Marie Raymond.
1947
Takes a judo class, where he meets Claude Pascal and Armand Fernández (known as Arman). Composes his first piece of music, Symphonie monoton-silence, which he will continue to work on in the following few years.
1949
Creates his first monochrome paintings.
1951
Conceives the idea for fire and water fountains.
1952
Studies Japanese at the École Nationale des Langues Orientales in Paris and travels to Japan to continue studying judo and Zen philosophy.
1954
Travels to Madrid as the new director of the Spanish Judo Federation, where he will show his monochrome paintings. Publishes two volumes of monochromes, one under the pseudonym Haguenault.
1955
Settles in Paris. Has his first public exhibition, Yves: Peintures, at the Club des Solitaires, in the private salons of the Éditions Lacoste publishing house in Paris. Klein's Expression de l'univers de la couleur mine orange is rejected by the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles in Paris.
1956
The exhibition Yves: Propositions monochromes is held at Galerie Colette Allendy in Paris.
1957
Klein's blue period begins. Has his first show of blue monochomes, Proposte monocrome, epoca blu, at Galleria Apollinaire in Milan. Exhibits simultaneously at Galerie Iris Clert and Galerie Colette Allendy, both in Paris. Shows his Sculpture aérostatique at the opening of the exhibitions, releasing 1,001 blue balloons into the sky.
1958
Commissioned to decorate the foyer of the opera house in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. The solo show Le vide is held at Galerie Iris Clert in Paris. Begins to use nude models as “living brushes” in his Antropométries series.
1959
Galerie Iris Clert in Paris organizes an exhibition of his work. Publishes Le dépassement de la problématique de l'art.
1960
Presents his Antropométries at Galerie Internationale d'Art Contemporain in Paris. Also exhibits at the Städtisches Museum Leverkusen Schloß Morsbroich in Leverkusen, Germany, and Galerie Rive Droit in Paris. Creates his first Cosmogonies. Patents the color International Klein Blue (IKB) and founds the International Klein Bureau. Founds, with art critic Pierre Restany, the Nouveau Réalisme movement. With Harry Shunk, creates the photomontage Leap into the Void, which is presented as a documentary photograph of Klein leaping from a second-floor window on rue Gentil Bernard in Paris. Participates in the second Festival de l'Art d'Avant Garde in Paris.
1961
Creates sketches for Fire Fountain. The Museum Haus Lange in Krefeld, Germany, holds a retrospective exhibition of Klein's work. Holds his first solo exhibition in the United States, at Leo Castelli Gallery in New York. Also exhibits at Dwan Gallery in Los Angeles and Galleria Apollinaire in Milan. Writes the “Chelsea Hotel Manifesto.”
1962
Stages a performance at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Participates in the exhibition Antagonismes: L'objet at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Suffers two heart attacks in May and dies from a third on June 6.
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