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1961 Franz Kline Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1910 Died: New York, New York 1962 acrylic on canvas 72 1/2 x 106 in. (184.2 x 269.3 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase from the Vincent Melzac Collection through the Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program 1980.5.1 Smithsonian American Art Museum
3rd Floor, North Wing

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Untitled seems like the quintessential "action" painting, but the initial impression of opaque black paint impetuously laid down on a while field is deceptive. Franz Kline was a methodical painter who made preliminary sketches for his large canvases and contemplated each stroke of the brush. He worked and reworked edges and intersections, overpainting black on white and white on black to create a ragged, dynamic structure. Although this painting is untitled, many of Kline's black and white canvases were named for industrial structures. Untitled can be interpreted as a bridge seen from below, or a fragment of one of the huge bins that dumped coal in the train yards of Kline's native Pennsylvania.




paint - acrylic

fabric - canvas