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Seeing in Color – Yves Klein Blue

Is there anyone who is more closely associated with a single color than French Artist Yves Klein? The blue he invented and painted is more correctly known as International Klein Blue. The artist did all sorts of very challenging things with it including producing ‘monochromes’ a series of pictures featuring just the one colour, back in 1955 he exhibited a series of different colours. When he didn’t get the understanding he wanted he adopted a more hard line approach and restricted himself to the blue he later patented. A master of promotion he released 1001 blue balloons to mark his exhibitions in Paris, the invitations to which featured his own stamp, a single stamp sized block of blue. It is widely believed that money may have changed hands to persuade the post office to accept the stamps as legitimate.

By 1958 he managed to persuade 3,000 people to stand in line before they were allowed to enter his exhibition, where absolutely nothing was on show. No account of the work of Yves Klein fails to mention his penchant for dragging naked models, covered in paint, across canvases, so here it is. Occasionally this was conducted as performance art while the audience listened to Klein’s 1949 The Monotone Symphony, a single 20-minute sustained chord followed by a 20-minute silence.

There are lots of places to read up on the fascinating life of Yves Kline and, if you fancy buying one of his pictures, a Blue Monochrome went for around $7 million back in 2000 and a gold leaf monochrome for closer to $21 million a couple of years ago.

But what about interior design?  Is anyone bold enough to use such a vibrant color?  Well yes. And our thanks for the hard work of Design Crisis who collected  many examples, some of which we reproduce here.

But first, Yves Klein designed some incredibly beautiful tables made of PVC and filled with his pigments.

This one is filled with gold leaf. The simple table hardly exists. Its all about the pigment.

And here’s some rooms featuring EKIB, as the art world know his eponymous color.

This from OWI.  And yes, we would be more than happy to live with it.

From Living Etc. Paint a cardboard moose head and you have Yves Klein on the cheap!

Or, if you are Kevin Roberts , CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi, you can stretch to one of the tables, an Yves Klein globe and doesn’t that block of color on the ceiling work well? Image from Architectural Digest.

  • http://letstalktile.blogspot.com Zoe

    Off to the paint store! Living room color decided– Thank you!


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