Yves Klein Proposte Minicrome

Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers, installation view at the Walker Art Center, 2011

In the 2010-11 retrospective of Yves Klein’s work organized by the Hirshhorn and the Walker Art Center, there was a wall (in DC) and a nook (in Minneapolis) filled with early, small-ish monochromes in a variety of colors that weren’t blue. They surrounded a vitrine with Klein’s amazing 1954 catalogue for an imaginary monochromes exhibition, Yves Peintures.

Yves Klein, untitled (M 109), 1955, 10×10 cm, oil on gauze on panel, being sold at Christie’s Paris

This little red square was not among them, but can you imagine if it was, looking like an emergency button in its gigantic, beveled frame?

Yves Klein, untitled (M 109), 1955, 10×10 cm, verso, with fabric visible at lower left and folded at the bottom right, and light blue under white under red on the bottom right, image: christies

I love the view of the back—frankly, it’s why I’m posting this—where it is signed with a star. And where you can see chips revealing underpaintings of white and not-IKB. This painting is only 10 cm across, but it has some real history in it.

Yves Klein, untitled monochrome (M 19), 1956, 22×16 cm, Dry pigment and synthetic resin on gauze mounted on panel, image: yvesklein.com

Though the auction description says it’s oil on panel, you can clearly see the weave of a textile, too, and a folded part, seemingly held together with paint. The Yves Klein Archive shows other works of similar date and size, like this 22×16 cm yellow monochrome from 1956, with “gauze mounted on panel,” so maybe that’s what’s going on here.

Yves Klein, untitled pink monochrome, 1956, 12.5×10 cm, dry pigment and synthetic resin on panel, image via yvesklein.com

This untitled pink monochrome from 1956 is the closest to the dimensions of the tiny red one, though, 5×4 inches. I had tried to come up with a common comparable object to convey the scale of this little red square: a CD case is 5 inches; a floppy disc is 3.5 inches. But while those are obsolete now, they also didn’t exist in 1955. That’s not what this painting was like when Klein created it. Maybe a coaster? The pink one is easier, because it could be postcard-size. Maybe it was the size of a tile.

Anyway, from a business decision, this couldn’t be more perfect; so buy it and let me know what size it turns out to be after you study it at your leisure.

4 May 2023, Lot 5: Yves Klein, sans titre (M 109), 1955, est. EUR50-70,000, but it’s already at EUR 70,000 [update: sold for EUR 88,200] [christies]
Previously, and very related: the artist’s 1954 book of found yet imaginary monochromes, Yves Peintures
Proposte Monocrome, eBay, Rose