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Collection > Franz Kline >

Buttress

1956

  • Medium

    Franz Kline

  • Credit

    The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
    The Panza Collection

  • Accession number

    86.9

  • Object label

    Franz Kline’s Buttress combines the intimacy of a small, flick-of-the-wrist ink sketch with the bodily scale of a dynamic, expressive “action painting.” These two types of scale form the DNA of Kline’s loose, rugged black lines, executed with wide housepainter’s brushes and set against a stark white ground. Kline arrived at this signature style after seeing one of his little calligraphic sketches blown up to monumental size on an opaque projector. Buttress conveys the impression of an expansive bodily painting process. The three black lines cut off at the painting’s edges stir an image of Kline’s sweeping arm movements, and the splatters of black paint connote high-velocity, energetic mark making. However, while Buttress appears to have been produced spontaneously, Kline actually worked from carefully composed preliminary sketches. Thus small-scale drawing remained at the core of his large-scale painting.

    Kline taught at Black Mountain during the summer of 1952.