Yves Klein Biography, Life, Interesting Facts


Yves Klein

Birthday :

April 28, 1928

Died On :

June 6, 1962

Also Known For :


Birth Place :

Nice, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France

Zodiac Sign :


Childhood and Early Life

French artist Yves Klein was born in Nice, France on the 28 April 1928 to Marie Raymond and Fred Klein. The family divided their time between Nice and Paris. His aunt had a bookshop in Nice where Klein used to work when he was young.



Yves Klein was a student at the École Nationale de la marine marchande as well as the  Institut National des Langues et civilisations Orientales (1942-1946).


Rise to Fame

During his student years, Yves Klein trained and practised judo. He also began painting. Around this time, he met the singer Claude Pascal and the artist Arman, becoming friends with both of them. In 1947, he composed his first one-note Monotone Symphony. The following year he began travelling, spending time in the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and Japan (1948-1952).



Living in Paris in 1955, Yves Klein had a solo exhibition of his work at Club des Solitaires. The following year, his monochrome paintings were exhibited at the Galerie Colette Allendy in Paris (1956). Klein’s blue period extended from 1957 until 1958. He had exhibitions held at the Galerie Iris Clert as well as the Galerie Colette Allendy. At the Galerie Colette Allendy, he presented La Void where he had the interior painted white and left the space empty.

He also experimented with Anthropometries, covering nude models in the paint and getting them to drag themselves on the floor. In 1960, he was a signatory on the manifesto of the New Realists (1960-1963). The same year, he applied for a patent for International Klein Blue (IKB) a paint colour he had created. During 1961, he had his first solo exhibition in the United States, which was held at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City. He also had an exhibition at the Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld in what was then West Germany.

Yves Klein worked with Claude Parent to design Fountains of Warsaw for the Palais de Chaillot in Paris. He also did a series of large life-size busts of Claude Pascal and Arman in Klein Blue (1962). Klein starred in Mono cane (1962) what was later called a shockumentary, a collection of archival material showing human beings at their most bizarre and depraved.


Later Years

Posthumous retrospectives were held at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany (2004-2005) as well as Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers (2010-2011) which was held at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.


Personal Life

Yves Klein married Rotraut Uecker on the 21 January 1963. She was seven months pregnant with the couple son when Yves Klein died on the 6 June 1962.

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