Franz Kline (May 23, 1910 - May 13, 1962) was an American painter mainly associated with the Abstract Expressionist group which was centered, geographically, around New York, and temporally, in the 1940s and 1950s; but not limited to that setting. He was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and died in New York City.
As with Jackson Pollock and other Abstract Expressionists, he was labelled an "action painter" because of his seemingly spontaneous and intense style, focusing less, or not at all, on figure, but on the actual brush strokes and use of canvas. For most of Kline's work, however, as the phrase goes, "spontaneity is practiced". He would prepare many draft sketches - notably, commonly on refuse telephone book pages - before going to make his "spontaneous" work.
Kline's most recognizable method/style derives from a suggestion made to him by his friend Willem De Kooning. In 1948, de Kooning suggested to an artistically frustrated Kline to bring in a sketch and project it with a Bell Opticon opaque projector he had at his studio. Kline described the projection as such:
"A four by five inch black drawing of a rocking chair...loomed in gigantic black strokes which eradicated any image, the strokes expanding as entities in themselves, unrelated to any entity but that of their own existence."
Kline created paintings in the style of what he saw that day throughout his life. In 1950, he exhibited many works in this style at the Charles Egan Gallery.