Painting Number 2 (1954) by Franz Kline

Painting Number 2 - Franz Kline - 1954

Artwork Information

TitlePainting Number 2
ArtistFranz Kline
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions6'8 1/2" x 8'9" (204.3 x 271.6 cm)
Art MovementAction painting
Current LocationThe Museum of Modern Art, New York
Location Created United States

About Painting Number 2

Franz Kline’s “Painting Number 2” is an abstract oil on canvas created in 1954 and exemplary of the action painting movement. The artwork spans a substantial size of 6 feet 8 and a half inches in height by 8 feet 9 inches in width, corresponding to 204.3 x 271.6 centimeters. Currently, it is part of the collection at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Kline executed this piece within the United States, contributing significantly to his reputation for dynamic canvases that emphasize the physical act of painting.

The artwork itself conveys a vigorous and bold energy, characteristic of Kline’s abstract expressionist style. It comprises primarily black and white paint, applied in broad, gestural strokes across the canvas, evoking a spontaneous and dynamic composition. The sharp contrasts and the interplay of positive and negative space result in a striking visual impact that pulls the viewer into a contemplation of form, movement, and the inherent act of creation. The black forms are not uniform in thickness; instead, they vary from thick, solid blocks to thinner, almost sketch-like lines, providing a sense of depth and movement. The white background is not merely passive but actively participates in the composition, as the seemingly unpainted areas contribute to the overall balance and tension of the piece. Each stroke appears deliberate, yet free, highlighting Kline’s ability to control the chaos that often accompanies the action painting genre.

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