Lot 112
  • 112

YVES KLEIN (1928-1962) / HARRY SHUNK (1924-2006) & JÁNOS KENDER (1937-2009)

15,000 - 25,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • YVES KLEIN (1928-1962) / HARRY SHUNK (1924-2006) & JÁNOS KENDER (1937-2009)
  • Leap into the Void (5, rue Gentil-Bernard, Fontenay-aux-Roses, october 1960)

    (Artistic action by Yves Klein - Collaboration Harry Shunk and János Kender)

  • gelatin silver print
flush-mounted, signed by Harry Shunk in ink on the reverse, 1960, probably printed in the late 1960s; accompanied by the original frame, signed and annotated by Shunk in ink and with a Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, label, credit and ‘294’ in ink, on the reverse (2)


Acquired by the present owner, 1965-69


Mathieu Copeland, Voids: A Retrospective (Zurich: JRP/Ringier, 2009), cover (variant)

Bruno Corà and Daniel Moquay, Yves Klein (Lugano: Museo d’Arte, 2009), cover and pp. 112-3

Mia Fineman, Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012), frontispiece, pp. 182 and 252

Simon Baker and Fiontán Moran, Performing for the Camera (London: Tate Publishing, 2016), p. 10

Catalogue Note

In October 1960, French New Realist artist Yves Klein collaborated with the photographers Harry Shunk and János Kender to document his jump from a rooftop in Fontenay-aux-Roses, a Parisian suburb. In the resulting illusory image, Klein, arms outstretched and dressed in suit and tie, appears to fly gracefully in the air, unaware of the pavement below.

This iconic photograph is actually a careful composite of two negatives. Shunk-Kender, as they were known, first took a photograph of Klein jumping from a second story window, landing safely in a tarpaulin held below by friends. Next, they photographed the same scene but devoid of people, except for a bicyclist (possibly Kender himself) peddling away at right.  The two negatives were then printed carefully on the same sheet to produce the final ‘documentary’ image.

This photograph was notably first published on 27 November 1960 in Klein’s parody newspaper Dimanche—Le journal d’un seul jour. Intentionally designed to resemble the French newspaper Le journal du dimanche, the translated headline reads: ‘A man in space! The painter of space throws himself into the Void!’ Printed on occasion of the Festival d’Art d’Avant-Garde, this 4-page broadside was available for one day at Paris newsstands, selling for 35 cents.

Although there are a few alternate, preparatory versions of this photograph, including some taken from other viewpoints and one that does not feature a bicycle or train, the present composition remains the most recognizable and reproduced, as it was the version chosen by Klein for Dimanche. Early prints of any size are rare. At the time of this writing, it is believed that only 3 other prints have appeared at auction in recent memory. The Shunk-Kender Archive is divided among several institutions, and prints of this image are in the following collections: the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Menil Collection, Houston.