reviews

Franz Kline

Allan Stone Gallery

A marvelous odyssey was recounted in this exhibition—the story of Franz Kline’s metamorphosis from a hackneyed illustrator, of the Greenwich Village sidewalk-art-show variety, to an Abstract Expressionist working in a grand, swashbuckling scale. The breakthrough works among the seventy on view were a number of brilliant, untitled drawings made on paper cut from a New York City telephone book (although some are studies for paintings, such as Study for “High Street,” 1952, the works can stand on their own). The thick black gestures, sometimes in ink, often in oil and collage, sit on the thin paper with beautiful insouciance as though supported by their own weight—levitating in space and transcending the banal, endless list of names (symbolic of the unknown personages Kline began his career portraying).

These dark drawings have an epigrammatic intensity and ferocious directness that became

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