No Price on Beauty – Yves Klein (1928-1962)

“Believe me, one is not robbed when one buys such paintings; it is I who am always robbed because I accept money.” Yves Klein

“in 1946, while still an adolescent, I was to sign my name on the other side of the sky during a fantastic “realistico-imaginary” journey. That day, as I lay stretched upon the beach of Nice, I began to feel hatred for birds which flew back and forth across my blue sky, cloudless sky, because they tried to bore holes in my greatest and most beautiful work.”

-Yves Klein

 “After having gone through several periods, my research has led me to paint unified monochrome pictures. My canvases are therefore covered by one or several layers of a single color after a certain preparation of     the support and using various technical procedures. No drawing is visible, no variation in hue; there is nothing but the UNITY of a single color. The dominant invades the entire picture, as it were. In this way I seek to individualize the color, because I have come to believe that there is a living world of each color and I express these worlds. My paintings, moreover, represent an idea of absolute unity in perfect serenity; an abstract idea represented abstractly, which has made me rank myself with the abstract painters. But I hasten to point out to you that the abstractionists do not understand it this way and they reproach me, among other things, for refusing to provoke relations between colorsÉ. I think that the color “yellow,” for example, is quite sufficient in itself to render an atmosphere and a climate “beyond the thinkable”; what is more, the nuances of yellow are infinite, leaving the possibility to interpret it in many different ways.

For me, each nuance of a color is in some way an individual, a being who is not only from the same race as the base color, but who definitely possesses a distinct character and personal soul.… Nuances can be gentle, evil, violent, majestic, vulgar, calm, etc. In sum, each nuance of each color is definitely a “presence,” a living being, an active force which is born and dies after having lived a sort of drama of the life of colors.”

Yves Klein’s theoretical dimension was already evident in this first show. The decisive meeting with Pierre Restany at the Club des Solitaires was to be a crucial element in both Yves Kleins’ and Pierre Restany’s careers.


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