Work of Art: Orange Outline
Franz Kline
American
1910-1962
Orange Outline
1955
Oil on paperboard mounted on canvas
38 x 40 in. (96.5 x 101.6 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel J. Levin
© 2012 The Franz Kline Estate / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Franz Kline's brash and freewheeling art wells from a distinctively urban, specifically New York sensibility. (He claimed to prefer the roar of traffic to the peace of the country.) Each of his paintings is a clamorous construction site, built stroke by stroke, revised and reworked. In Orange Outline the seemingly haphazard swaths of tar-black paint suggest an iron truss spanning and shoring the composition. The painting barely contains the energies of its making. Furthermore, it gains a gritty honesty by the deliberate, blatant roughness of its execution and the poverty of materials: cheap, commercial house paint slathered on a flimsy sheet of paperboard.

Kline insisted his most successful paintings were visual responses to a specific emotional state. Describing his images as "painting experiences," he explained, "I don't decide in advance that I'm going to paint a definite experience, but in the act of painting, it becomes a genuine experience for me."

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