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We’ve Got the Blues

Yves Klein (28 April 1928 – 6 June 1962) was a French artist working in Post-World War II Europe. He is often pinned as the precursor to the Pop Art movement, as well as an influence on the world of Performance Art. Klein did not relegate paints to the canvas, nor arts to the world of 2d. Working with live women, Klein often covered bodies in blue paints. He thought of people as “human brushes” and “model forms”. Blue Women Art, also known as “Anthopometries“, is an expansive piece that includes a full orchestra, several women, Yves Klein Blue Signature Paint, and large canvases to “perform”. The women slowly drag their paint dripped bodies across surfaces – allowing form and movement to be transferred to the canvas.

Images from the Wikipedia Commons and the Yves Klein Archives, HERE.

Klein Blue Form in Blue Venus – Please also draw your attention to similarities in Henri Matisse’s Blue Nudes.

Klein explained that although both of his parents were also painters, his painting career began on a a beach at the age of 19 when, on the sand with friends, he looked upward and “signed the sky” as his first piece of art. Clearly this namesake blue-of-a-deep-sky color followed him throughout his lifetime.  He painted monochromes for several years in the 1940’s and early 1950’s however one seminal day in 1955 made him realize that Ultramarine and Lapis Lazul would be the pigment of his future. Hannah Weitemeier author of Yves Klein, 1928–1962: International Klein Blue explains“From the reactions of the audience, [Klein] realized that…viewers thought his various, uniformly colored canvases amounted to a new kind of bright, abstract interior decoration. Shocked at this misunderstanding, Klein knew a further and decisive step in the direction of monochrome art would have to be taken…From that time (technically 1958) onwards he would concentrate on one single, primary color alone: blue.”

As always, the art world recycles in wonderful ways: Here is the ultramarine pigment in the The Wilton Diptych, which can be seen in the National Gallery, London. The image was painted for Richard II (1367–1400) who is the crowned and kneeling figure on its left-hand panel. This color is often used to depict Madonnas (pictorial or sculptured representations of Mary, Mother of Jesus

TAKASHI MURAKAMI, Homage to Yves Klein , 20/10/2011 – 07/01/2012, Galerie Perrotin, 10, Impasse Saint Claude, Paris found HERE.

Clearly this color is still permeating the mind of artists and the realm of the arts. Photography by Elspeth Diederix / ultramarine / red chairs 2007, found HERE. 

Klein’s deep blue was so captured in the subconscious of people that it began to reappear in interior design, clothing (notably in suits), painting and all aspects of the cultural sector. The artist worked with chemists to capture the raw intensity of dry pigments in a color that does not appear naturally in ecosystems – save for the sky and a few bird’s feathers. This unique hue is now known in art circles, paint stores, and the color experts Pantone as International Klein Blue. Let us just, for one second, imagine being so influential that we have created an color whose legacy will be continually used after our death. Major.

The Blues: as a point of comparison.

Klein in your Bathroom! This also looks easy to clean, deifnite perk. Image via House to Home.
From Sight Unseen, HERE.
A quaint and rustic room featuring the serigraphHomage to Tennessee Williams by Yves Klein. Via Art.com, HERE.
From the home of the CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi company. A table filled with IKB pixie dust, created by the artist. Found via Architectural Digest, HERE.
Baboo Apartment by Bernardes & Jacobsen, São Paulo, Brazil – art by Alexander Calder, Keith Herring, Jean Michel Basquiat, Yves Klein blue table…found HERE.
GO BOLD OR GO HOME. Found via Yolksy, HERE.
Screenshot from Sweet Paul Magazine Spring 2012 Issue – found HERE.
Those red lacquered bamboo legs! The glossy pink table! The medieval wall! The Foo Dog Lamps! I literally cannot stop using exclamation points. Found via Design Crisis, HERE.

Bravo, bold man! Interior designer (and assistant to the inimitable Miles Redd) Nick Olsen painted his living room a high-gloss enamel acid green (Benjamin Moore’s Oregano) and accessorized with pops of white, blue and chocolate brown. Photo by Paul Costello, Domino, November 2006. Found HERE. 

Not good at hanging paintings straight? No problem. Leave it on the floor as a mock back-spalsh. Via Riazzoli, HERE.

The Evitavonni Blue Chair is a piece of furniture that is so bold and brilliant it is sure to become the focal point of ANY room. Found at Chair Blog, HERE.

Room by Brown Davis Interiors, RESIDENCE WITH THE VIEW, MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA. Found HERE.

Inspired to make your own “performance art piece” using your own naked body as a brush? The LOVE IS ART KIT – Klein Blue comes with all of the materials a couple needs to *safely* create a unique, one of a kind abstract painting during intimacy. Via LoveIsArt, HERE.

The apartment of Abigail Ahern. Found via DesignSponge, HERE.

Styling found at Camilla Junler, HERE.
Can we discuss the wonderful use of crocheting to soften the hyper focus of such an intense blue? Found HERE.
NOW HOW DO I PUT THIS STUFF IN MY HOUSE/WHERE CAN I PURCHASE SUCH A UNIQUE COLOR?
Shop by the Numbers: 1 / 2 / 3 (C275 Electric) / 4 / 5a / 5b /  6 / 7 / 8 / 9 
  • C2 ELECTRIC 275: “Forget all those pale shades. What you want is an evening blue, an Yves Klein blue. Deeper than deep. You see it on Byzantine ceilings, in Jean Paul Gaultier’s stripes. It’s contemplative, meditative, mysterious. When I want to be enveloped, blue is the only color that will do it for me.” –Whitney Stewart
  • “It’s deep, affecting, spiritual and says so much with the most minimal of work. A piece defined by its simplicity.” – Matthew Hockridge
  • “This is the only work of art that I would want to own. I feel at peace when looking at it. It gives me a sense of strength and calm.” – Carol Symons

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Keren Veisblatt Toledano is a Senior Strategist at Brooklyn United, a digital agency for bold brands. In her spare time, Keren can usually be found taking photos of old doors, visiting museum, soaking in Epsom salts, admiring copper pots, reading dystopian science fiction or sneaking a slice of lemon into her drinks. Her motto is, “A morning without coffee is sleep.” She lives in a brownstone with her cat, Cagney, husband, Michael, and son, Josiah, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, NY.

5 Comments

  1. Hey Lady,

    Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know how much I appreciate your blog. Your write- up on Yves Klein was fantastic. I like that you believe in your audience enough to teach them about your inspiration. Keep all the great work coming! xo-Kristen via The Hunt SF (a former Chelsea Girl)

    Reply

    • The Hunt,

      Thank you, truly, for this wonderful comment. I love the idea of introducing my audience to art but within a context. Too often we look at art blankly without understanding its historical importance! Anyway, enough rambling, thank you for stopping by (SO MUCH).

      Reply

    • Thanks for visiting! We certainly “have the blues”. LOVE the Blue Coconut Chairs by George Nelson.

      Reply

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