Yves Klein

Yves Klein

Born in 1928 in Nice, the child of two painters, Yves Klein might have seemed predestined to become an artist. In 1947, at the age of nineteen, he developed an intense interest in an unlikely combination of topics: Rosicrucianism (a theological doctrine built on esoteric truths of the ancient past, which, concealed from the average man, provide insight into nature, the physical universe and the spiritual realm) and judo. In 1949, he composed the Symphonie Monoton-Silence, which consists of twenty minutes of a single extended sound produced by an orchestra and a chorus, followed by twenty minutes of silence. After intensive training in Japan, upon his return to France in 1952 he published a book on judo and opened his own school.

Over the years, Klein had dabbled in painting, but only in 1955 did he begin to think seriously about becoming an artist. Refusing to play by the rules, he denounced both the academy and the avant-garde, proclaiming himself a revolutionary genius. In this regard, he was right. His career progressed with miraculous speed. By 1958, he had had solo shows in Milan, London, Düsseldorf and Paris, and was commissioned to create a series of huge murals for a new theater in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Over the next two years, he began to make a new kind of picture, the 'anthropométry,' by covering models with paint and having them press their bodies against paper or canvas. He exhibited an empty gallery as an artwork. He invented another kind of conceptual art based on the sale of “zones of immaterial pictorial sensibility.” While painting his German murals, he became close to the artists of Group Zero in Düsseldorf, and in 1960 he helped found the Nouveaux Réalistes group in Paris.

In 1961, the Museum Haus Lange, in Krefeld, organized a retrospective of his work, where he exhibited sculptures made from jets of fire. He then proceeded to make a series of canvases “painted” with a flame-thrower. In the same year, he had exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, Rome, and Milan. In January 1962 he married the artist Rotraut Uecker; their happy union was cut tragically short in June, when Klein suddenly died of a heart attack at the age of thirty-four.

A true giant of the post-war avant-garde, Yves Klein left behind an impressive body of work that broke new ground and blended traditional artistic mediums with performance and spiritual exploration. Dominique Lévy is honored to represent the Estate of Yves Klein in North America. Exhibitions of the artist at the gallery include Yves Klein: A Career Survey (2005) and Audible Presence: Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, Cy Twombly (2013), which was accompanied by the first New York performance of Symphonie Monotone-Silence to a vast audience at the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in September 2013 to critical acclaim. At Independent Projects in November 2014, Dominique Lévy presented important works by Yves Klein, including Sculpture tactile, a work conceived in 1957 and exhibited for the first time at the fair.

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Selected Works

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  • Untitled Blue Sponge Sculpture (SE 238)
    c. 1959
    Dry pigment and synthetic resin on natural sponge, metal stem, and stone base

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Selected Press

San Francisco Chronicle | Study in sound and silence

January 10, 2017

The “Monotone-Silence Symphony” by the French painter Yves Klein is one of those artistic creations …

Artsy | Yves Klein’s Legacy Is about Much More Than Blue

January 9, 2017

As the story goes, Yves Klein’s love affair with the color blue began when the artist was seduced …

Artnet | Lévy Gorvy Partnership Debuts With Bold, Experimental Yves Klein Symphony

December 15, 2016

At age 20, Yves Klein conceived of an experimental composition with two friends in the South of France …

Departures Magazine | All About Yves

May 8, 2015

In her collection Bluets, the poet and art critic Maggie Nelson writes about visiting London and seeing …

Kunstzeitung | Konkurrenz oder willkommene Ergänzung?

January 31, 2014

Im Dezember feierte die Paul Kasmin Gallery das Jubiläum von Constantin Brancusis erstem Auftritt …

LA Times | Moving sound to anywhere but the concert hall

December 28, 2013

NEW YORK — This has been the season of the concert hall. The one named after Walt Disney turned …

Gallerist | The Year in, and Beyond, the Galleries

December 18, 2013

It’s been brutal trying to whittle down a “best of” list for 2013, but the top slot? That’s …

The New York Times | ‘Audible Presence: Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, Cy Twombly’

November 1, 2013

A beautiful show of often little-known works by three revered artists, all of whom exaggerated or …

The New York Times | Paola Pivi - ‘Ok, you are better than me, so what?’; ‘Audible Presence’

October 17, 2013

There are several ways to describe the frisson between the shows with which Galerie Perrotin, of Paris, …

Blouin Artinfo | “Audible Presence” Echoes At Dominique Lévy

October 14, 2013

For the inaugural exhibition at Dominique Lévy’s new gallery on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, …

Haute Living | Haute Event: Dominique Lévy Celebrates New Gallery

October 7, 2013

Connoisseur, collector, advisor, and gallerist Dominique Lévy is admired internationally as a leading …

The New York Times | Shhh. Silence Being Observed.

October 4, 2013

There’s been a lot of noise about silence lately. Last month, art and music lovers poured into an …

New Yorker | Audible Presence: Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, Cy Twombly

October 1, 2013

This seductive show, the gallery’s first, borrows its title from Klein’s description of his rarely …

Art Observerd | New York: “Audible Presence: Fontana Klein Twombly” at Dominique Lévy Through November 16th, 2013

September 26, 2013

Twenty minutes of continuous, monotone sound, followed by twenty minutes of absolute silence

Bloomberg | Kate Moss Overalls, Blue Rain, Edmund de Waal: Uptown Art

September 24, 2013

A turquoise bear is ready to drop onto his colorful siblings from the ceiling of 909 Madison Avenue, …

Purple FR | Audible Presence: Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, Cy Twombly at Dominique Lévy Gallery, New York

September 23, 2013

Image Gallery

CBS News | Passage: A concert of note

September 22, 2013

It was the New York premiere of the “Monotone-Silence Symphony.” Conceived by the late French …

Cool Hunting | Link About It: This Week's Picks

September 21, 2013

12. Silence and Symphony Swiss-born Dominique Lévy—a powerhouse in the contemporary art market—rose …

Vogue | Two Art Shows Featuring Works by Paola Pivi, Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana, and Cy Twombly

September 20, 2013

“I love bears” Paola Pivi explained on the opening day of her new Galerie Perrotin on Madison …

Observer | ‘This Symphony Does Not Exist’: At Dominique Lévy’s Performance of Yves Klein’s ‘Monotone-Silence’

September 19, 2013

There are many ways to open a new gallery. On Tuesday night, the irrepressible Frenchman Emmanuel …

The New York Times | The Storm Before the Calm: Strange Sounds Emerge From ‘Monotone-Silence Symphony’

September 19, 2013

I thought I heard bagpipes. I thought I heard snippets of Philip Glass’s “1000 Airplanes on the …

Animal New York | Hear Last Night's Yves Klein Monotone-Silence Symphony Performance

September 19, 2013

Last evening at the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, an orchestra and a chorus performed Yves Klein’s …

The Daily Beast | A Silence Worth 1,000 Pictures

September 19, 2013

This untitled blue monochrome, painted by Yves Klein in 1956, is just a standin for another, unreproducible …

DuJour | Yves Klein Uptown Moment

September 18, 2013

When she was just 13 years old, in the late 70s, Swiss born New York gallerist Dominique Levy was …

Interview Magazine | An Audible Presence in New York

September 18, 2013

Imagine 20 minutes of a blaring single note, emitted in unison by a symphony and a choir. Imagine …

The Styley | Audible Prescence at Dominique Levy

September 18, 2013

Does anyone remember the Rag & Bone outpost on Madison and East 73rd Street? I do, and fondly.

The New York Times | A Sound, Then Silence

September 17, 2013

The sound, a D major chord produced by an orchestra and a chorus, begins abruptly, full force, and …

whitewall | Top Exhibitions Opening This Week

September 17, 2013

Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, Cy Twombly: “Audible Presence” at Dominique Lévy Gallery September …

SFAQ | Review: “Audible Presence”, Fontana, Klein, Twombly at Dominique Lévy, New York.

September 17, 2013

The glamorous “L” of L&M Arts has just opened the first show of her new eponymous gallery …

Art in America | Dominique Lévy Launches Upper East Side Venue

September 16, 2013

Dealer Dominique Lévy had been searching without success for Upper East Side real estate for her …

Departures Magazine | Two New York Gallery Shows Not to Miss

September 16, 2013

In 1960 Yves Klein debuted his 40-Minute-Monotone-Symphony, a single toned work conceived 13 years …

The Village Voice | Art Fall Picks 2013

September 4, 2013

In 1971, L.A. artist Chris Burden spent five days jammed inside a school locker. Later that year, …

Architectural Digest | Emmanuel Perrotin and Dominique Levy Create Manhattan's Newest Contemporary Art Destination

August 31, 2013

The most anticipated gallery opening of New York’s young fall season is actually a two-for-one.

Artdaily | Dominique Levy to inaugurate new gallery with masterworks by Fontana, Klein, and Twombly

August 5, 2013

Dominique Levy announced her gallery’s new home in New York City and the inaugural exhibition Inaudible …

The New York Times | Yves Klein’s ‘Monotone’ Symphony Is Headed to New York

August 1, 2013

On March 9, 1960, 100 people, all in black tie, gathered in a Paris gallery to see the artist Yves …

Video

Yves Klein’s Monotone Silence Symphony in San Francisco

March 27, 2017

On January 12, 2017 at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral, Lévy Gorvy presented the third U.S performance of Yves Klein's groundbreaking Monotone-Silence Symphony.

Over one thousand people were present to experience this moving and transcendent work, which unfolds as an orchestra of musicians and singers holds a single continuous tone for a twenty-minute period, followed by twenty minutes of absolute silence.

With thanks to Grace Cathedral and online partner Artsy. Video by Slow Clap Productions.

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