Folded poster (ca. 450 x 290 mm.) printed in the artist’s signature ultramarine, International Klein Blue (IKB). Los Angeles: Dwan Gallery, 1961.
The extremely rare poster conceived by Yves Klein (1928-62) for his May 1961 exhibition at Dwan Gallery in Los Angeles; unrecorded on WorldCat. This groundbreaking show came after the far more muted one at Castelli (11-29 April 1961). These were the first two presentations of Klein’s work in North America. Exhibition materials from Klein’s lifetime are very scarce and the Dwan exhibition was crucial in the artist’s introduction to the American audience. Five Klein pieces are among the highlights of Virginia Dwan’s collection (promised gift to the National Gallery of Art); she was one of the most significant American collectors of his work.
“Now the truly monochromatic works that the French artist Yves Klein showed at Dwan in May 1961 proposed an even more drastic reduction of technique; more ‘minimal’ than even Reinhardt’s black pictures, they would elicit an astonished reaction in Los Angeles. Dwan had been riveted by her first sighting of Klein’s work in the window of a Parisian gallery the previous year…
“This was the young artist whom Dwan invited to show in Westwood. [Castelli] had also taken an interest in Klein, and so he and Dwan arranged to exhibit the artist’s work in successive presentations in spring 1961…Klein gave both shows the same name, but just as the contents of the French shows were distinct, the Castelli and Dwan exhibitions were notably different…
“[Klein] recalled his stay in Malibu more favorably, with good reason. In sunny Southern California, the Niçoise artist felt instantly at home. As well, Klein was under no restrictions with regard to the presentation of his work as at Castelli. In the Westwood space the full range of his activity was revealed at Dwan’s insistence. Not only did Dwan show several of the large blue monochromes that had failed to sell in New York. In the Broxton gallery a viewer also encountered a pink monochrome; sponge reliefs in pink, gold, and blue (which, unlike his monochromes that were made in a workmanlike manner with rollers instead of brushes, introduced a degree of relational arrangement in the painter’s process); and two ‘fire’ paintings, also ‘composed’ to a degree (Klein determined where to apply a torch and water to the pretreated cardboard). Sculpture, incidental at Castelli, was also prominent. A most arresting work greeted visitors, Blue Rain (pluie), its branches dipped in IKB paint and hanging from the ceiling above a tray of IKB pigment. But the most dramatic works were indubitably the two large Anthropometries (empreintes, or body prints) that hung prominently on the back walls between the office and the gallery. Even today, the five works by Klein that remain in Dwan’s possession – two blue monochromes, a pink monochrome, a gold monochrome, and a ‘fire’ painting – speak of the chromatic and technical variety of Klein’s project so apparent in the Broxton show.”–Meyer, Dwan Gallery, pp. 38-39.
Near fine; small crease to the lower left corner, faint wear at the folds. No copy in WorldCat, but we have tracked down an example at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art.
❧ James Meyer, ed., Dwan Gallery: Los Angeles to New York, 1959-1971 (2016), p. 325 (pictured).
Item ID: 8193