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Art does not reproduce what we see. It makes us see. Paul Klee

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Klein, Yves - by Alastair Sooke

Yves Klein

by Alastair Sooke

One summer’s day in 1947, three young men were sitting on a beach in Nice in the south of France. To pass the time, they decided to play a game and divide up the world between them. One chose the animal kingdom, another the province of plants. The third man opted for the mineral realm, before lying back and staring up at the ultramarine infinity of the heavens. Then, with the contentment of someone who had suddenly decided what course his life should take, he turned to his friends and announced, “The blue sky is my first artwork.”

That man was Yves Klein, whom the New Yorker’s art critic Peter Schjeldahl described in 2010 as “the last French artist of major international consequence”. In a period of prodigious creativity lasting from 1954 to his death from a third heart attack at the age of 34 in 1962, Klein altered the course of Western art.

He did so thanks to his commitment to the spiritually uplifting power of colour: gold, rose, but above all, blue. In fact, his chromatic devotion was so profound that in 1960 he patented a colour of his own invention, which he called International Klein Blue.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20140828-the-man-who-invented-a-colour