Catalogue entry

Yves Klein 1928-1962

T01513 IKB 79 1959

The back bears the artist's insignia, an eight-sided star, and is inscribed (not by him) 'IKB 79'
Paint on cotton scrim over plywood backing, 55 x 47 x 1 1/4 (139.7 x 119.7 x 3)
Purchased from the Galleria Internazionale and Situation (Grant-in-Aid) 1972
Prov: With Michel Couturier, Paris; through Galleria Toselli, Milan; with Galleria Notizie, Turin; with Galleria Internazionale, Milan, and Situation, London (joint owners)
Exh: Yves Klein, Galleria Blu, Milan, November 1969 (9)
Lit: Paul Wember, Yves Klein (Cologne 1969), p.73
Repr: Terry Measham, The Moderns 1945-1975 (Oxford 1976), pl.69 in colour

Wember lists a total of 194 blue monochrome paintings of widely varying sizes. They were numbered after the artist's death by his widow Rotraut Klein-Moquay, not in chronological order, 'IKB 1-194', the letters IKB standing for International Klein Blue, a reference to the very distinctive ultramarine blue which Klein employed. Klein made his first monochrome painting in 1949 and began his so-called 'blue period' in 1957; he then continued to make blue monochrome paintings on and off right up to his death in June 1962. It is difficult to date most of them precisely, though the early pictures tend to have a distinctly uneven wave-like surface, whereas the later works (such as this one) are finer and more uniform in texture.

Mme Klein-Moquay said on 6 May 1974, after re-examining the Tate's picture, that she was fairly certain it was one of about four in the same style which Klein made at Gelsenkirchen in 1959. She was with him at the time.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.389-90, reproduced p.389