The Vital Gesture, Franz Kline: Cincinnati Art Museum

Harry F. Gaugh, Author Abbeville Press $60 (189p) ISBN 978-0-89659-571-2
Kline's fame rests on his dramatic black-and-white abstract paintings. Packed with raw energy, they look like a clash of elemental forces. This attractive, readable monograph, which accompanies a touring exhibition, shows that Kline floundered and was not an especially original painter until he discovered his black-and-white style. Among the 70 color plates and 100 halftones are agreeable figurative pictures, murals for Greenwich Village bars that he painted to pay the rent, landscapes of the Pennsylvania coal country where he grew up and obsessive portraits of Nijinsky, which became alternative self-portraits. Critics have read into the black-and-white and color abstractions noble or tragic faces, desolate landscapes or meditations on the American dream of power used wisely. Their purity and power comes across in the many full-page reproductions. December
Reviewed on: 11/01/1985
Release date: 11/01/1985
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