Among the leading painters of post-World War II Abstract Expressionist
movement, Franz Kline developed his own highly personal form of art based more on
“spontaneous expression in abstract design of the artist’s psychic states.”1 Abstract
expressionism saw representation as the exact opposite of their main aim in painting.
“Formal issues” such as color, lines, and shapes without recognizable representation is
what Kline, like many other abstract expressionists, strove to portray in their paintings.
They were individuals that were foraging their own way into the art world. Mainly an
artist of impact, Kline’s work was forceful and boldly dramatic, which characterized his
aggressiveness and raw energy. Best known for his robust black-and-white abstractions,
his zealous brushwork seemed to manifest the energy and gestures produced in the act of
painting. In this paper I will argue how Kline’s unique form, also referred to as action
painting, was affected by his background and other artists, how his work was not
influenced or represented Chinese calligraphy, and why he should be set aside from other
The Pennsylvania native originally was a representational painter, that used a style
The way in which he used couldproduce a level of art that spoke with an eloquent language of linear thrust and balance. "I"tmm always trying to bring color intomy paintings, but it keeps slipping away. "He was recognized as the leader of a "second generation" of AbstractExpressionist painters, whose work belonged entirely to the new decade and had nothingto do with the Surrealist influences of the 1940"tms. 3 There were many factors that contributed to the success of Kline"tms paintings. Fascinated by color, he continued toexperiment and became a sensitive and creative colorist. In response to a question by Katherine Kuh,Kline responded with this insight. He also influenced Kline in the way that he showed him thatabstraction wasn"tmt something that had to be accepted, that it was supposed to be out ofthe ordinary and unrecognizable. Up until the 1940"tms Kline painted urban scenes and figures in a conventional, realist style. In this world he has created a home that will set him apart from all other artists, a homethat is invariably unique and distinct, and one that deserves to be looked at upon withreverence. Despite what the critics would say about Kline"tms work, he insisted that hiswork was totally western in origin and that it was more dependent upon value contrastrather than anything else. I don"tmt decide in advance thatI"tmm going to paint a definite experience, but in the act of painting itbecomes a definite experience for me. A couple years after moving to New York, he sparked aninterest in abstraction and reduced the elements of his old style. Similar artists such as William de Kooning and Jackson Pollack helped pave the roadtowards this type of abstract expressionism that Kline felt so attracted to. His concern for color came at themidpoint of his effectiveness as an abstract artist.