“The final test of a painting, theirs, mine, any other, is: does the painter’s emotion come across?” -Franz Kline
Today for my birthday instead of going on about meaningless age numbers I would like to share with you all my all time favorite artist that inspires me in so many ways; the art that make sense to me in my happiest moments and in a world of chaos. Even in my darkest hours, surroundings can be distorted and emotions can feel all mixed up but if I stand in front of the presence of works of Franz Kline; I will feel at ease and everything is set back into perspective due to his drastic bold blacks brush strokes which are executed with a strong sense of velocity and confidence. There, in one word lies the answer that I seek, “Confidence”. I think this is the reason I admire his work so much; the confidence of his work, suggests the ultimate homage to one self’s identity and creativity all together. He often refered to painting as a “situation” and for Kline the first brush strokes were the first causes of the situation, and as he would begin to paint he would try to rid everything out of his mind in order to “attack the situation” thru the canvas. It was truly important for him to be able to communicate with the viewer and we can all agree that standing in the presence of his works, the experience does not only please us, but we can merely feel him connecting with us; it is inspiring and brilliant!
“You paint the way you have to in order to give. That’s life itself, and someone will look and say it is the product of knowing, but it has nothing to do with knowing, it has to do with giving.” Franz Kline
Before we go into depth with his legacy, a quick introduction for those of you who are not familiar with his work; Franz Kline is an American Abstract Expressionist painter who is the pioneer of the Black and Whites Abstract art. He is an important influence of the second generation Abstract Expressionist Movement, thanks to the influences of Willem de Kooning, Pablo Picasso and Philip Guston. But just as many artist’s early years; his path to success was not an easy attempt to achieve.
He was born on March 23, 1910 and was raised in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, it was a small coal mining town with very few opportunities for artists. Both of his parents were immigrants, his father came from Hamburg and his mother from Cornwall. Parents which he did not have a fond relationship with; in 1917 his father who was a saloon keeper committed suicide, three years later his mother remarried which led for her to send him out to an” orphanage” as Kline refers to it but in reality it was an institution for fatherless sons called the Girard College, Philadelphia, which he attended from 1919 to 1925. His mother later released him to attend Lehighton High School; he was a varsity football player who ended up getting severely hurt and was unable to play for a long period of time. During this time, he became interested in drawing and became a cartoonist for the high school newsletter. From there after, his journey had changed forever as his new fond vision for his love and practice for the arts and started off with the desire to become a cartoonist and illustrator.