Lot 110
  • 110

Franz Kline

350,000 - 450,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Franz Kline
  • Green Oblique (Study for de Medici)
  • signed and dated 56

  • oil and collage mounted on canvas
  • 18 by 22 in. 45.7 by 55.9 cm.


Estate of the artist (ZP 57)
Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, Inc., New York
Collection of Genevieve Arnold, Georgia (acquired from the above in 1972)
Thence by descent to the present owner


Cincinnati Art Museum; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, The Vital Gesture: Franz Kline in Retrospect, November 1985 - September 1986, cat. no 68, p. 136, illustrated in color
Atlanta, Museum of Art; Athens, Georgia Museum of Art; Drawings from Georgia Collections, May - August, 1981, cat. no. 68, p. 177, illustrated in color
Atlanta, High Museum of Art; Savannah, Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences, Georgia Collects, January - June 1989, p. 178, illustrated in color

Catalogue Note

As eloquently stated in the Cincinnati Art Museum's Franz Kline exhibition catalogue titled The Vital Gesture, Harry F. Gaugh  juxtaposes the present study with its main counterpart, de Medici with the following insight:  "Color's potential as participant rather than adjunct to abstraction was realized not only by juxtaposing it to black, but by formulating it in collages, which Kline began making as early as 1947-48.  None is more accomplaished in meshing black, white and color as structural coefficents than Green Oblique.  Actually the study for de Medici, also of 1956 (fig. 1), this well built collage - one of Kline's largest - confirms his mastery of color's tectonic properties by assigning it to a relatively large and loosely brushed planes.  Multiple pairings enrich its meaning and help make Green Oblique an articulate yet highly compressed statement of both color and collage.

The much bigger de Medici, on the other hand, deflects its energy across an expanse of white canvas.  While conjuring up personages through its elegant upright forms and history-inflected title, de Medici may be closer to rigorously pared-down landscape.  However, seeking visual correspondences in the natural world for Kline's abstractions is a rich, ongoing experience, and it should never give way to myopically pinning down a painting's 'ultimate' source.  At any rate, with implications of personage and landscape, de Medici approximates total abstraction as well, a tripartite phenomenon encountered repeatedly in Kline's art. 

Studying the collages, one readily senses Kline's building technique.  Green Oblique was made by gluing three pieces of cut and torn paper to another one already covered with an amorphous black configuration.  The collage elements snap the entire work into focus.  Kline's ability to fit compositions together unit by unit and achieve a succint aggregrate of form locked resolutely in space was unique among Abstract Expressionists.  Undoubtedly, he was the 'architect' of the New York School." (op. cit., p. 136-138)