IKB # International Klein Blue # Fanlisting

About IKB

Yves Klein was never an artist in the league of Turner, Rembrandt or Titian, but he is remembered for one thing: International Klein Blue, which he used for a series of monochrome paintings in the 1950s.

You can’t do this colour justice in a reproduction - you have to see it at first hand to appreciate how lovely and lustrous it is. Klein believed that colour alone was sufficient to say all he wanted to say, without the distraction of line and form. In 1954 he said:

"I believe that in future, people will start painting pictures in one single colour, and nothing else but colour".

And that’s just what he did.

Klein’s blue is in fact none other than ultramarine - that is, the synthetic version of ultramarine devised in the nineteenth century. But ultramarine never looked like this before - at least, not on the canvas.

Klein realized that pigments always tended to look richer and more gorgeous as a dry powder than when mixed with a binder, and he wanted to find a way to capture this appearance in a paint. In 1955 he found his answer: a new synthetic fixative resin called Rhodopas M60A, which could be thinned to act as a binder without impairing the chromatic strength of the pigment. This gave the paint surface a matt, velvety texture.

Klein collaborated with a Parisian chemical manufacturer and retailer of artists' materials named Edouard Adam to develop a recipe for binding ultramarine in the resin mixed with other organic chemicals. To protect this wonderful new paint from misuse that would compromise the purity of his idea, he patented it in 1960.

Source: Philip Ball (2001). Bright Earth: The Invention of Colour, Penguin, London

Patente IKB nº 63471
Yves Klein