Color is the subject of Franz Kline's magnificent “Red Painting, 1961," one of the artist's last works. Although Kline (1910 – 1962) is more famous for his stark black and white paintings, he also painted works like this one that reveled in color. The stark black, powerfully contrasting red, and thick, energetic brushstrokes create a taut, bold statement. Red can be a difficult color to use, but Kline was clearly up to the challenge. “Red Painting” is displayed in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Though lacking in color, Franz Kline’s powerful black and white paintings make up for it in power. An Abstract Expressionist, Kline (1910 – 1962), originally painted images of the coal-mining region in Pennsylvania where he was born, but later began using housepainters' brushes to create explosive black slashes on white backgrounds. He first became interested in abstract representation when fellow artist Willem de Kooning projected one of Kline’s sketches on a wall, focusing on the strength of the lines instead of the subject of the painting. Kline profoundly influenced the second generation of Abstract Expressionists, and his works are extraordinary achievements of American postwar painting.