Click on photos to enlarge.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Towel Art

One of the most creative examples of towel folding I've ever found.                

Copyright, Jim Lane
Hanging monkeys get a little tiresome
after the third or fourth cruise.
Anyone who has ever taken a cruise has, no doubt, encountered this form of art in returning to their stateroom (preferred by cruise lines to the term, "cabin") after an evening of too much food, fun, and frivolity. Anyone who hasn't cruised, won't know what I'm talking about. It's an art form some say was actually invented by Carnival Cruise Line. More likely, the art of folding towels goes back somewhat further than that. Over the years, we've taken about ten cruises going as starting in 1988. My wife loves the little creatures and has taken pictures of the best of them ever since. The first few cruises we took we used to look forward to them. More recently, we've grown a bit jaded. It takes more creativity to impress us. Elephants, monkeys, and various breeds of puppy dogs no longer do much for us. However, I never will forget the time, aboard Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas, when we came back to our room to find an effigy of me, made wholly of towels, and maybe a stray hat, asleep on our bed (similar to the one below). Fortunately, I'd not been drinking.
Towel effigy similar to the one we encountered on the Grandeur of the Seas in 2001.
Copyright, Jim Lane
This little guy cracked me up. He turned
up in our room one night aboard the Oasis
of the Seas. (Probably a stowaway from the
ship's laundry.)
Folding towels into animals is akin to origami. And though there's little doubt as to the Japanese origins of that art, its likely that towel folding actually originated from napkin folding, which originated in the court of the French monarch Louis XIV. (People back then were starting to have way too much time on their hands.) Insofar as towels are concerned, the art likely originated with luxury hotels (probably beach resorts) rather than cruise lines. Today, they're not all that common in hotel rooms, but practically a requirement for any respectable cruise line. I've often wondered if each room steward makes up his or her own creations at night after a fourteen-hour day, or if there's just one guy on each ship who does them all (or perhaps a whole department). The largest cruise ship, The Allure of the Seas, carries up to 5,400 passengers. At double occupancy, that's about 2,600 staterooms. That's a lot of towel folding.

Copyright, Jim Lane
The most extravagant use of towels we've ever encountered.
 I've titled this one, NBC After a Snowstorm.

Copyright, Jim Lane
I'm not sure just what breed of canine
this guy is, but he looks to be a
mighty "shady" character.
Of course, the art of towel folding survives and thrives on cruise ships for only one reason--tips. Other than leftover food from the main dining room and their cramped accommodations, stateroom stewards are paid a shameful pittance by the cruise lines. They live for tips, officially around ten dollars per person per day (often added to your onboard account by the cruise line automatically). However, a twenty on the first day might see you getting a few more little white animals during your cruise. If you do the math, you'll find tipping is no small part of the cost of a cruise, especially when you add in smaller tips for your dining room waiter and his or her assistant (table cleaner-offer). Room stewards (or whoever makes these things) have a major limitation in creating their sculptual works of art. Cruise lines use mostly (or exclusively) white towels. And, as any artist knows, color is one of the most important assets to be had. Sometimes tiny craft eyes are used along with silk flowers, candy, and bits of felt to give colorful accents and personality to their work. But nothing beats the limited use of colorful towls.

There are lots of more elaborate variations on this, but one of the most popular
towel art creations (and really not all that difficult) is the romantic swan pair
augmented with flowers of some kind. Some I've seen take over the whole bed.

Just follow the instructions below.
One of the major drawbacks to this type of art is that cruise lines frown upon your taking it home with you. Of course, packing it away in an overstuffed suitcase would probably cause your cute, cuddly, little creature to lose some of its appeal but... The answer to this disadvantage is, naturally, to learn to do it yourself. Cruise lines are only too happy to help in that regard. They sell overpriced how-to books on the subject. They also keep their passengers happy on sea days (travel dayz s between ports, for those who have never cruised) by offering demonstration seminars. The problem with these gatherings is, the room stewards charged with imparting their art usually know English as their second language. Their instructions tend to lose something in translation. Also, unless you can grab a seat in the front row, the demonstrations may be a little hard to follow. Below is a simple "how to" diagram for one of the most popular cruise mascots, the good, old-fashioned, Republican elephant.

There, wasn't that easy. Love the choice of color.

Even if you really, really like towel art, it's probably not worth the cost of a cruise just to see such creations; but they're a fascinating little "perk" for a vacation that will, quite frankly ruin ever other vacation you ever take unless you become like my wife and I, cruise addicts. We leave on our next one, The Allure of the Seas to Barcelona, April 19th of next year. Come join us, we'll find something to do--trade towels, maybe.

This one is a bit "over the top". It's what happens when you leave
yesterday's clothes lying around your stateroom for the steward to pick up.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Laura Knight

Balloon Site: Coventry, 1940s, Laura Knight                    
--not exactly your typical Impressionist painting.                   
It's easy for us today to look upon Impressionism as just a bunch of pretty pictures. For the most part, they were that, and still are today. In the U.S, the east coast and the so-called "left coast" seem to be the most impressive bastions of impressionist art. In between, the painter's art flourishes but no one style retains any degree of dominance over another. Northeastern and the southwestern landscape and light seems to lend themselves to this type and style of art. Of course, money has something to do with it too. Both areas of this country are as rich in wealth as in their stunning beauty. As I've said many times before, great wealth begets great art. Having said all that, Impressionism was far more than pretty pictures. It revolutionized painting, first in France, then England, the U.S., and the rest of the world. Impressionism changed the way artists painted as well as how they looked upon painting. It would be difficult to overstate the impact these changes had on art--painting, drawing, sculpture, the cinema, perhaps even architecture.
Ruby Loftus screwing a breech ring, 1942, Laura Knight.
Very few impressionists ever painted a woman running an industrial lathe. 

Laura Knight became best
known for her wartime art.
With only a pathetic smattering of exceptions, painting was a male occupation. The British critic John Ruskin is said to have stated flatly, "Women can't paint." Ruskin died in 1900. Many artist happily attended his funeral. That's about the time that an artist named Laura Johnson set out to prove England's number one misogynist wrong. If that name doesn't stick in your mind, perhaps you might know her better by her married name, Laura Knight. If you're British, I'm sure of it.

Laura Johnson was born in Long Eaton, Derbyshire (central England) in 1877. Her father died when she was a baby. Her mother support Laura and her two sisters by teaching art part time at the Nottingham School of Art where her mother managed to get her enrolled as a student at no cost. When her mother became ill, though only fifteen at the time, Laura had progressed so far and so fast in her studies she was able to take over her mother's job even as she continued attending classes herself on a scholarship from the South Kensington Museum. She supplemented her income by giving private art instruction.

Harold Knight Self-portrait, 1923
Laura Knight by Harold Knight
After the death of her mother and one of her sisters, Laura Johnson met Harold Knight, the school's best student. She liked his style and decided the best training she could get would be to imitate him. Twelve years later, she married him in 1903, from that point on taking on his name as Laura Knight. Married couples who painted together were not unheard-of in England at the time (I've written on one or two) but they were relatively rare. Even while courting, the two, accompanied by Laura's sister, painted together while vacationing in a small fishing village on the northern coast of France. Actually, he did most of the painting, she could not afford the expensive supplies, so she spent her time drawing the local children, all too willing to pose for a few pennies.

The Beach, 1909, Laura Knight--children of Newlyn
After the two were married, Laura and Harold Knight spent time painting together in the Netherlands and in England, Yorkshire and eventually, Cornwall as part of the Newlyn artists' colony. Harold Knight became an established portrait artist while his wife's studied lagged far behind him as she continued her studies of children on the beach at Newlyn. These eventually evolved into her first major painting, The Beach (above), from 1909, which was entered into the Royal Academy competition where I received high praise for its impressionist style, far beyond anything she'd done before.

Self-portrait with Nude, 1913, Laura Knight
Harold Knight began incorporating nude models from London into his Cornwall landscapes. Laura's Self-portrait with Nude (above) from 1913 suggests she was not altogether comfortable with the idea, but apparently acquiesced. The painting represents a resentful challenge to academic tradition which did not permit women to paint directly from a nude model at that time. The painting was not well-received at the time, having been rejected for display at the Royal Academy that year. One critic describing it a "vulgar." After Laura Knight's death, the painting was purchased by Britain's National Portrait Gallery as an important work in female emancipation.

Ballet, 1936, Laura Knight
The Three Clowns, Laura Knight
During WW I, Harold Knight registered as a conscientious objector and ended up plowing fields as a farm laborer. Laura used her time to, in essence, catch up with her husband's skills in painting, turning her attention to circus performers (left), famous ballet dancers (above), and painting the rugged coast of England (below) after having first obtained special permission from the government because of wartime security restrictions. She also took up printmaking, leaving behind over ninety prints created up through the 1920s. After the war, her reputation was such that she was invited to the United States to serve on a jury at the first annual Pittsburgh International Exhibition of Pictures.

Lamorna Cove, ca.1919, (on the Cornwall coast), Laura Knight
In 1936, having won several different international competitions, Laura Knight became the first woman in over 150 years to be elected to the Royal Academy. Her husband was elected a year later, making them the first married couple to ever be so honored. Later, Laura turned her attention to painting gypsies (below), often from the back of her antique Rolls Royce. During the Second World War, Knight painted recruiting posters, not for soldiers, but for women to work in their place. Her efforts from this era can be seen at the top as she depicted exceptional female contributions to the war effort.

Watercolor Study of Gypsy Caravans, 1930, Laura Knight

The Dock, Nuremberg, 1946,
Laura Knight
After the war, Laura Knight, even at age of sixty-nine, was the only woman artist allowed to depict the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial proceedings. The War Artists' Advisory Committee, who had sent her to Germany for three months, was more than a little stunned at what they got for their money. It was a departure from her usual Impressionistic realism. She depicted the Nazi war criminals being tried in the foreground while the background opened up to the widespread destruction she found in the city. The Royal Academy was rather cool to it too, but those who attended the trials gave it high praise. Laura Knight's standing as an artist continued to grow during the later years of her life while that of her husband 1961. Unlike her husband, Laura continued having important retrospective exhibitions even well after her death in 1970 at the age of ninety-two.

Malvern Hills, 1930s, Laura Knight


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Giulio Clovio

Detail from a portrait of Giulio Clovio by El Greco dating from about 1571-72.
Clovio points to his  most famous work, the Farnese Book of Hours.
Giulio Clovio Self-portrait, ca. 1565
I've long insisted that painting is now an antique art form. Every so often I find a rare artist whose work causes me to revisit that mindset, but for the most part, that's still my contention. There are simply too many other means of creative expression that are more effective while allowing the art lover the same, or often, a better viewing experience. Photography, and later, color photograph in particular, were among the first new art media to do so. Motion pictures did as well, though the cost of creating in this media was too much for most artists. Video brought those costs down and eventually evolved to such a high level of quality as to surpass motion pictures, even in the hands of amateurs. I've produced half-hour videos with virtually no production costs using equipment and software costing no more than $1,500. Their only limitation being was my own technical ineptitude (the learning curve is every bit as steep as in painting). The Croatian artist, Giulio Clovio (Juraj Julije Klović being the Croatian spelling) was a painter who, I'm sure would agree with my initial statement. His particular form of painting, manuscript illumination, which flourish during Medieval times, was a dying art by the middle of the 16th-century when he lived and worked in Rome. Art historians consider him the last great manuscript illuminator.

Bird illustrations from the Farnese Book of Hours, 1536-45, Giulio Clovio
An illustrated manuscript from the 11th-
or early 12th-centuries suggesting the
evolution of such art from its early
I think it's quite possible that manuscript illustration got its start as bored Medieval monks were assigned the task of copying ancient scriptural manuscripts during daylight hours, six days a week, (possibly by candlelight as well). Their only breaks came in time out for eating, sleeping, praying, and going to the bathroom (where they seldom bathed). Their "art" likely began as what we'd term today as "doodles" in the margins where they relieved the ennui of their work by "decorating" the first letter on each page or paragraph (left). The 11th-century manuscript seen at left may, in fact, may be relatively late in the evolution of such art. Many experts believe it began in Ireland as much as five-hundred years earlier. Clovio's work evolved too. Though born in Croatia in 1498, he headed straight to Rome by the time he was sixteen where he was to study and live for most of the rest of his life. There, during his apprentice years, he admired, the work of Titian, Michelangelo, and Raphael. He may even have known them personally. In Rome, Clovio studied under some of the best "miniaturists" (as they were called at the time) including Marino Grimani. He may have, in fact, set his hand to some of the pages in Grimani's famous Soane Manuscript during the early 1520s.

A page, The Conversion of St. 
Paul, possibly by Clovio, from
Grimani's ca. 1520 Soane Manuscript.
Colonnal Missal, 1512,
Giulio Clovio, one of his
earliest confirmed works.
After a brief foray to Hungary to paint for King Louis II, with stops going and coming at various monasteries along the way, Clovio was back in Rome by 1538 where he latched onto the Farnese household headed by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, the great grandson of Pope Paul III. There, starting around 1537, while living in the Farnese household (not uncommon for exceptional artists at the time), Clovio began working on his most important masterpiece, the Farnese Hours. It was 1546 before he finally finished it. The work contains twenty-eight major illustrations including its famous, double-page spread of the Corpus Christi Procession in Rome.
The Corpus Christie Procession, Rome, 1546, Giulio Clovio from the Farnese Hours.
A page from the Farnese Hours
depicting the Cardinal Farnese
in prayer along the left margin.
The Farnese Book of Hours (an illustrated prayer calendar) also contains images depicting the Nativity titled Adoration of the Shepherds, Adam and Eve, The Fall of Man, The Visit of the Magi, The Crucifixion, Moses Lifting up the Serpent in the Wilderness, the Annunciation to the Shepherds, and Augustus and the Sibyl, all spread across two pages each. There were also thirty-seven additional, decorated single pages. One such page depicts a miniature portrait of the Cardinal in prayer (left) along the left margin. Other pages were decorated with flora and fauna of the time with little or no reference to scriptural text. Illuminators were expected to decorate as well as illustrate. Though theoretically intended to aid the owner's spiritual life, such exquisitely illustrated books were often displayed, open to an exceptional double-page image, to be admired much like any other work of art. Books of Hours largely went out of style with the growing interest in humanism and the passing of the Renaissance. Also, the advent of the printing press shifted such art away from miniature painting (other than portraits) toward etchings and woodcuts much as photography came to free painting from the bonds of realism.

The Adoration of the Shepherds (left) and The Fall of Man (right),
1546, Farnese Hours, Giulio Clovio.
Clovio went on to illuminate the Towneley Lectionary, also for Alesandro Farnese, in which he depicts the lives of the evangelists as well as a Nativity, the Resurrection, and a Last Judgment. Clovio is said to have been a good friend of Germany's Pieter Bruegel the Elder and a mentor to the ;much younger El Greco, who painted a portrait of Clovio a few years before his elderly idol died in 1578 (detail at top). Giorgio Vasari, discussing Clovio in his Lives of the Artists, refers to him as "...the most important illuminator of all times." Clovio's Farnese Hours now rests at the Morgan Library in New York. Clovio's remains now rest within sight of the work of one of his idols, Michelangelo's famous Moses, located in the Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli (in chains) in Rome.
Speedbump by Dave Coverly, 2010


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Hilma af Klint

The Swan (left) by Hilma af Klint, a sweatshirt (right) from
Swedish designer, Jonny Johansson.
Composition with yellow, Blue, and Red,
1927, Piet Mondrian
Yesterday in discussing the work of Franz Kline, I made mention of the fact that, in essence, many people don't like his work. At the end I displayed very eye-catching examples of how a designer, inspired by Kline, adapted his bold slashes of black on white to his male fashion collection. Over the years I've encountered many students, not to mention their parents, who simply couldn't stand any kind of abstract art, and have even criticized its being taught in public schools. Yet, these same people (women usually) proudly buy and wear quite beautifully the same abstract art they claim to dislike so vehemently. Why is that? They wouldn't be caught dead with the stuff on their walls, but might very easily choose to be buried in it. Piet Mondrian (right) has often had his bold black lines an colorful rectangles adapted to high fashion. The same goes for van Gogh, Picasso (by his own daughter, no less), and Salvador Dali, to name only a few (I, myself, have neckties with work inspired by Dali and van Gogh). Of course not all these artists chose Abstract Expressionism, but reversing that, very often the prints women wear would make excellent abstract paintings. The Swedish artist, Hilma af Klint's The Swan (above) joins the list or artists mentioned above.
The Swan No. 16, 1915, Hilma af Klint
Hilma af Klint Self-portrait, ca. 1890s
Hilma af Klint is an interesting case with regard to abstract art. Most of her work is far more abstract than the swans depicted at top. The actual title of the work which inspired the sweatshirt is The Swan No. 1. Above is the one of several which followed it, The Swan No. 16, from 1915. She painted most of her works in an abstract mode, but could easily switch back and forth. Moreover, as you can see from the dates, she was in on the "ground floor" where abstraction was concerned (maybe what you'd call the sub-basement). Though it's likely they didn't know of one another's work, Klint was painting abstractly in Sweden at roughly the same time as Wassily Kandinsky in Russia. Actually, except for the fact that there's an abysmal lack of reliable dates associated with Klint's work, a case could easily be made that she got there first. Some records indicate she made her first abstract painting about 1906. Kandinsky didn't come along with his First Abstract Watercolor (below, right) until 1910.

Eftersommar, 1903, Hilma af Klint--one of her earliest paintings. 
First Abstract Watercolor, 1910,
Wassily Kandinsky
Of course, Kandinsky was an important, up and coming artist at the time. His work is well catalogued. He was also a man. Hilma af Klint wasn't. Born in 1864, along with a group of other female artists they called "The Five," she lived and worked in Stockholm all her life. And though Sweden has produced many outstanding artists over the years, it could also be considered something of a "backwater" insofar as European art was concerned during the early 20th-century. Kandinsky became famous, Klint became, well...weird. Klint's movement into abstract painting came primarily not from an exploration of art, but a devotion to something called "Theosophy," a movement which developed around 1875. I don't pretend to understand much about it, other than to say it dealt with mathematics and the occult. It was not a religion, striving instead for a deeper understanding of the meaning of human life. Her interest in Theosophy came following the death of her sister in 1880. Her lifelong devotion to numbers came from her father, a Swedish naval commander.

Hilma af Klint's work journal, July, 2, 1919.
Altarbild, (date uncertain), Hilma af Klint.
Working along side her four friends, Hilma af Klint ("af" in Swedish means of) experimented as early as 1896 in developing what later came to be called by the Surrealist, "automatic drawing." The hand and drawing tool are allowed to move randomly across the page driven only by the subconscious, largely eliminating rational though from the work--kind of a Ouija Board with a pencil. If that sounds a little silly, keep in mind Theosophy was only a small part of a much larger, turn-of-the century search for new, Modernist forms in artistic, spiritual, political and scientific systems. Klint's search led her to a new visual language allowing her to conceptualize what could previously not even be discussed. Her many dissected circles presumably allowed her to probe the mysteries of the human psyche, but more importantly, gave form to her more practical and expressive studies of color relationships that were the all important seeds for Abstract Expressionism some fifty years later.

Evolutionen, 1908, Hilma af Klint
Klint clothes.
Would you wear this?
Hilma af Klint continued to paint until around 1941. She died in 1944 at the age of eighty. In her will she asked that her paintings, numbering more than a thousand, not be displayed until twenty years after her death. In 1970, they were presented as a gift to the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. The museum turned them down. As a result, it wasn't until the 1980s that Klint's paintings were publicly displayed through the efforts of art historian, Åke Fant, who recognized their importance and the seminal influence it had on the New York School and, indeed, the history of art. Think about that the next time you choose a shirt or blouse bearing abstract art.
Based upon this by Klint?

Stockholm's Moderna Museet only recently got around to exhibiting Klint's work, including a 1907 painting
featuring circular lines and rectangular shapes filled with various colors on a rose background. It's titled,
The Ten Largest, No. 10. Sounds pretty abstract to me.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Franz Kline

Untitled, 1957, Franz Kline
Franz Kline, Self-portrait
If you've ever scratched your head wondering about the incredible, multi-million-dollar prices Christie's Auction House, and others have brought forth for paintings less than a hundred years old, here's another one for your itchy head. Last year, Christie's sold a ten-foot-wide white canvas with giant black brushstrokes, which they expected to bring between $20-million and $30-million. That figure seemed incredibly optimistic in that previously, the artist' best price at auction had been $6.4-million. It wasn't. The untitled painting (above) actually brought $36-million, which means, when the unidentified buyer finished paying Christie's premium, the cost was something like $40.4-million. The work was by the 1950-60s Abstract Expressionist of the New York School, Franz Kline (right).

Palladio, 1961, Franz Kline
Crow Dancer, 1958, Franz Kline, the previous
record holder at auction--$6.4-million
Elite critics refer to Franz Kline as "an artist's artist." I suppose they're right. His work is difficult to like and easy to hate. People have long looked at it in disgust and then labeled the entire Abstract Expressionist movement of the late 1940s and for the next fifteen years as little more than art fraud. They are aghast that anyone would buy it, much less spend record amounts of money for what would appear to them to have been an "accident on canvas." Basically such people simply prove the critics right, Kline's work is such that perhaps only an artist could love it. Having said that, let me also say that, though I'm an artist, I don't "love" Franz Kline. I can, on the other hand, appreciate who he was, and what he did. I am, however, a little embarrassed to admit that for years I had Mark Rothko and Franz Kline confused, attributing in my mind their works to the wrong artist, or simply lumping both their creative efforts into first one or the other's body of works, depending upon which name came to mind at a given moment.
Opustena, ca. 1961, Franz Kline.
Shortly before his death, figural work was starting to become popular again.

Magenta, Black, and Green,
1947, Mark Rothko

For those who might be as confused as I was, let me try to help. Rothko was a color field painter (left). Kline was an action painter, cut from the same cloth as Jackson Pollock, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Phillip Guston, and others even less "household" in their names. Color field painters include such names as Clyfford Still, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Morris Lewis, Hans Hoffman, and Helen Frankenthaler. The two styles look nothing alike but inasmuch as they both look nothing like any identifiable content (being non-representational) it's easy to see how some people might lump them all together or, at best, like myself, get them confused in their minds. All those listed above, by the way, today bring between six and eight figures at auction. So, if money has an impact as to your art appreciation, pay attention.

Untitled, 1955, Franz Kline
(The original white background has yellowed with age).
Franz Kline is the quintessential "my kid could do that" artist. Ironically most of us would have beat the dickens out of our kids if they'd rendered such works of art on the living room wall. People, the work of all these artists is, for lack of a better term, "museum art." Almost without exception it's huge in scale, ideal for a museum gallery the size of and eight-car garage, but not likely to fit "over the couch." However, the people paying six to eight figures for such home decor essentially live in museums, homes bigger than some museums, in fact, often with living rooms bigger than some art galleries. Although I'd proudly hang any of their works in my own home, Kline would not be easy to live with. Kline is what I'd term a "slash and burn" painter, his bold, black on white canvases as refreshing as a slap in the face with alcohol-laden aftershave, but nonetheless, a slap in the face.

Meditating on Rothko--the Mark Rothko Chapel, Houston, Texas.
A 1950s Kline phone book
preliminary study.
Jackson Pollock's work is exquisitely beautiful, especially up close and far back. Rothko is quiet, meditative, he even has his own chapel (above) in Houston, Texas. Kline, on the other hand, is like watching a barroom brawl when you're way too drunk to participate. His work appears haphazard. Each painting gives the impression of having taken fifteen minutes, and projecting the mental image of his turning them out at a rate of fifteen a day. In fact, Kline's work is so well thought out, for each painting, he often made hundreds of "dry" runs utilizing the pages of old telephone books (right), back in the days before smartphones. In fact, Willem de Kooning is said to have introduced Kline too his mature style (he wasn't always an abstractionist) by encouraging him to use an opaque projector, projecting a representational sketch onto a canvas, but doing so with the image out of focus, then boldly painting in the dark areas. His self-portrait (top, right) was created in that manner, though the image was likely more in than out of focus.

Untitled, 1957, Franz Kline

Zinc Yellow, 1959, Franz Kline. The title
suggests a yearning for reunification with color.
Kline was part of the 1950 graduating class of the New York School, the first and most authentic wave Abstract Expressionist painters comprising most of the "who's who" listed above. Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in 1910, the man was forty years old before he "made it" as an artist. And of course, his work did not start selling for $40-million during his lifetime (he died in 1962 of heart disease). In fact, of all the "class of 1950," his work, along with that of Clyfford Still, was among the last to begin selling for exorbitant prices. It took some fifty years for that to happen. Even though the artist "made his mark" abusing white canvases by slopping around blacks (I know, that sounds racist, but it's not meant that way), the final years of his life he struggled to once more embrace color. The problem was, in doing so, his work looked much like dozens (perhaps hundreds) of other New York School painters, the only difference being the name scrawled on the back.

Franz Kline hits the runway as an inspiration for Tim Coppens', 2013 fall collection