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Image Rights
Courtesy Walker Art Center
© The Franz Kline Estate / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


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The Chair
Franz Kline
unframed 20-1/16 × 16-1/16 inches
oil on canvas
Not on view

Object Details

Paintings (Paintings)
Accession Number
In ink front LR “Kline”; in oil reverse UR “Franz Kline”; Illegible writing reverse of canvas
Physical Description
Black caligraphic image on a white field
Credit Line
Donated by Mr. and Mrs. Edmond R. Ruben, 1995

object label Franz Kline, The Chair (1950) Walker Art Center, 1999

When I look out the window–I’ve always lived in the city–I don’t see trees in bloom or mountain laurel. What I do see–or rather, not what I see but the feelings aroused in me by that looking–is what I paint.–Franz Kline, 1956

After his first one-man show in 1950, which consisted of energetic abstractions such as this one, Franz Kline was immediately dubbed “the black-and-white artist.” During the course of the decade, he continued to explore the powerful and emotional effect of assertive brush strokes rendered in simple black and white. Today he is considered one of the most important of the New York-based Abstract Expressionist artists. Interestingly, it was Kline’s habit to name his paintings after they were finished; this image probably got its title because of its chance resemblance to a chair. He said, “If something happens to look like something tangible, this doesn’t bother me–but I myself don’t use real objects as models… . I don’t think there is any reason to say ‘no’ to the figure or to the object, but it so happens that I haven’t been working with definite figures or objects.”

Label text for Franz Kline, The Chair (1950), from the exhibition Art in Our Time: 1950 to the Present, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, September 5, 1999 to September 2, 2001.

Copyright 1999 Walker Art Center