Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Image of Untitled 5702



Franz Kline



Creation Date



20th century


19 7/8 in. x 14 7/8 in. (50.48 cm x 37.78 cm)

Object Type


Creation Place

North America, American

Medium and Support

brush and black ink on off-white wove paper

Credit Line

Gift of Walter K. Gutman, Class of 1924


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Accession Number

Franz Kline belonged to the core of the New York School and helped to make Abstract Expressionism an internationally celebrated phenomenon. This bold, gestural drawing closely relates to Kline’s large-scale paintings that similarly reduce the palette to a stark contrast of black on white. Among his peers, Kline even became known as the “black and white artist.” While his paintings seem spontaneous, they were in fact meticulously composed, often over periods of several months. While painting, Kline looked to his drawings and copied details onto his canvases. This process of deliberation distinguished him among the members of the New York School, “action painters” who suggested to the viewers of their work that artistic production was an outpouring of raw energy.

Keywords: black and white   New York School   action painting   painting   large brushstrokes   Abstract Expressionism   gestural   postwar American art   focus on line  

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