Yves Klein, the ultimate blue. 

Reading Time: 5 minutes

According to science, the human eye can spot 1000 levels of light&dark, 100 levels of red&green and 100 levels of yellow&blue. This means that we can see about 10 million different colors. But in this variety of colors there is only one Yves Klein Blue

Yves Klein, the master of Post-war pictural art and the genius behind his blue.

Yves Klein was born in April 28th 1928 in Nice – South of France. He was considered as an important figure in post-war European art. He is the leading member of the French artistic movement of Nouveau Réalisme founded in 1960 by art critic Pierre Restany. Yves Klein was a pioneer in the development of performance art and is seen as an inspiration to, and as a forerunner of, minimal art, as well as Pop Art.

The Nouveau Realism is often considered as the French version of the american pop art.
Yves Klein started exploring monochrome art already in 1949 but it was with the invention of the International Klein Blue that his artwork became something much bigger.

Post war art, abstraction was the golden rule.

The abstract painting that dominated French art in the 1950s was invariably premised on the notion that an artist could communicate with the viewer through the power of abstract form. But skeptics of modern, abstract art have always alleged that the viewers, like the faithful devotees of a false god, do more of the work than the artist, investing the forms with their own feelings rather than discovering the artist’s. Viewed in this light, Klein’s monochrome blue paintings might be read as a satire on abstract art, for not only do the pictures carry no motif, but Klein insisted there was nothing there at all, only “the void.”

The International Klein Blue, one of a kind.

Yves Klein had a genius idea when he decided to create a specific and unique color. This specific blue is also called International Klein Blue (IKB). Its visual impact comes from its heavy reliance on ultramarine as well as Klein’s often thick and textured application of paint to canvas. This specific color was developed by the French artist in collaboration with Edouard Adam, a Parisian art paint supplier. Yves Klein was looking for an idea of absolutism.

He was obsessed by the intensity of pigments and how poor they would be restituted into the canvas. He wanted to create the ultimate color, the absolute unicity and a perfect serenity. His base was the Ultramarine blue n. 1311 which in pigment has this deep intensity whereas used in painting got quite vanished. This was because of the optic transformation due to the solvent or water used.

The uniqueness of IKB does not derive from the ultramarine pigment, but rather from the matte, synthetic resin binder in which the color is suspended, and which allows the pigment to maintain as much of its original qualities and intensity of color as possible. The synthetic resin used in the binder is a polyvinyl acetate developed and marketed at the time under the name Rhodopas M or M60A by the French pharmaceutical company Rhône-Poulenc. Edouard Adam’s company still sells the binder under the name Médium Adam 25.

The influence of Yves Klein nowadays

The monochromatic work of Yves Klein is more relevant than never. In a world where we lost complete faith into social institutions, religion or even politics, there no more references. The old icons are dead and we end up in a world where we do not have any guidance. We also loose faith on how things are done, created, manufactured, built. There is no clarity into the processes. More than never, the world is exposed to darkness and emptiness.
The work of Yves Klein and especially his deep, vibrant, intense and over-rated blue becomes the ray of light in the tunnel of our lives. The extra-terrestrial blue by Yves Klein brings happiness, warmth and a sense of extreme purity. This purity is above everything an anchor and a promise of a greater life.
During 2016, several art exhibitions will display Yves Klein works. From London Tate Modern in the UK, to Turkey or Sweden, this Klein Blue will be present across the year. Certain brands get also inspired by the genius of Yves Klein. This month the luxury French shoe maker JM Weston has just revealed a new project related to Yves Klein. So far here is the teaser they released on Facebook with the hashtag #KleinBlueByJMWeston :
Check the artist official website for more information here:

Yves Klein is an universal reference for the search of an absolute beauty and by all means the world need more beauty to rebalance the ugliness of certain things.
Be blue, think blue and let’s get into the blue.


Info sourced on Yves Klein official website, wikipedia, Euronews and the artist biography. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available.

José Amorim

José Amorim has been working in the luxury industry for more than 15 years. In the past 8 years, he joined his personal passion for digital culture and his luxury background to develop digital strategies for premium brands. He is the founder of LuxuryActivist.com and is happy to share his passion here.