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William Klein Art

American, 1926-2022

American photographer William Klein continually channeled the zeitgeist through his oeuvre, imbuing his photography with startling honesty and empathy, as well as his own particular brand of abstraction. The portraits, scenes and scenarios resemble windows into a world where reality has begun to warp, sometimes dreamily, other times more emphatically, so that snapshot moments are strangely portentous or full of possibility.

Klein was best known for his early fashion shots and arresting street photography, capturing, with candor and humanity, life in cities around the world, including Rome, Moscow, Tokyo and Paris. His gritty and grainy images of 1950s New York are widely considered his most powerful, documenting the underbelly of a growing metropolis, with his focus set on the energy and multidimensional nature of postwar culture. In his 1955 image Selwyn Theatre, 42nd Street, New York, for example, Klein contrasted the gleaming silhouette of a car with the faded-out forms of a group of young men about town, creating strong graphic patterns that suggest a sense of abandon and opportunity.

Klein’s aesthetic, however, is not easy to summarize, since he demonstrated an eager embrace of experimentation through the decades. Early street shots are often out of focus and taken at unexpected angles, while his 1960s fashion shots and celebrity portraits for Vogue’s American, French and British editions are sleek and subtly Surrealist, pioneering a new style that put the spotlight on the beauty of the composition rather than the allure of the clothes, as seen in Smoke and Veil (1956) and his 1961 portrait of Anouk Aimée for Paris Vogue.

In addition to photography, Klein explored painting, filmmaking, graphic design and publishing, adopting a polymathic attitude to the arts. Klein began his career as a painter under the tutelage of French abstractionist Fernand Léger, having moved to Paris in 1948. The experience opened his mind to the possibilities of manipulated form, specifically the illusionary effects achieved through the playful arrangement of light and shadow.

A commission from 1952 was instrumental in his side step into photography. Having created a painted room divider for an architect, Klein took photographs of the rotating piece. His delight in the fragmented shapes created by the movement prompted him to make thousands of abstract photograms by applying shifting geometrical forms on photographic paper during long exposures.

Indeed, the unorthodox mixture of disorder and imperfection, along with beauty and energy, remained a constant in his work, as evidenced by such unconventionally arresting images as Candy Store, Amsterdam Avenue, New York (1955), Independence Day Parade, Dakar (1963) and Black Venus West Indian Day Parade, Brooklyn, New York (2013). Among Klein’s most famous celluloid achievements is his 1964 documentary Cassius the Great, dedicated to a young Muhammad Ali in the run up to his fight with Sonny Liston.

In fact, many of Klein’s photographs and films have a strong sociopolitical dimension, although they were not intended as acts of propaganda. Instead, they raised awareness about conditions of flux, antagonism, hope and change, especially among African American and minority communities as they navigated times of change. This is exemplified by vibrant shots like Easter Sunday, Harlem High Hat, New York and Moves and Pepsi, Harlem, both featured in the self-designed and self-published seminal tome New York: 1954.55.

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Artist: William Klein
Hat and 5 Roses, Paris Vogue
By William Klein
Located in Santa Monica, CA
signed by artist
Category

20th Century William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Dorothy + Feathered Hat, Rome
By William Klein
Located in New York, NY
Dorothy + Feathered Hat, Rome, 1962 gelatin silver print 30 x 40" ed. of 30
Category

1960s Modern William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Nina + Simone, Piazza di Spagna, Rome, 1960 - William Klein
By William Klein
Located in London, GB
Nina + Simone, Piazza di Spagna, Rome, 1960 Signed and numbered Platinum-palladium print, printed later 33 x 28 inches From an edition of 20 William Klein (born 1928) was a revoluti...
Category

Late 20th Century William Klein Art

Materials

Platinum

Smoke and Veil, Paris (Vogue)
By William Klein
Located in New York, NY
Gelatin silver print Signed, titled, and dated in pencil, verso This artwork is offered by ClampArt, located in New York City.
Category

1950s Other Art Style William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Club Allegro Fortissimo, Paris
By William Klein
Located in New York, NY
Club Allegro Fortissimo, Paris,1990 Gelatin Silver Print/ Enlarged contact strip outlined with blue gloss paint, signed in felt pen 45 x 60 inches Edition unique Signed in felt pen
Category

1990s Realist William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Anouk Aimee, Paris
By William Klein
Located in New York, NY
William Klein Anouk Aimee, Paris, 1961 silver gelatin print 32 x 40" ed. of 30 38 x 48" ed. of 30
Category

1960s Modern William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Painting + Coffee: Simone D'Aillencourt, Fabiani
By William Klein
Located in New York, NY
Signed by the artist
Category

1960s Modern William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Anne St. Marie + Cruiser in Traffic, NY (Vogue)
By William Klein
Located in Santa Monica, CA
William Klein (born April 19, 1928) is an American-born French photographer and filmmaker noted for his ironic approach to both media and his extensive use of unusual photographic te...
Category

1960s William Klein Art

Materials

C Print

Selwyn Theatre, 42nd Street, New York
By William Klein
Located in Santa Monica, CA
signed by artist
Category

20th Century William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Anouk Aimée, Paris (Vogue)
By William Klein
Located in New York, NY
Signed by the photographer.
Category

1960s William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Dorothy and Beach Ball and Dwarf Scout, Paris
By William Klein
Located in New York, NY
Gelatin silver print Signed, titled, and dated in pencil, verso This artwork is offered by ClampArt, located in New York City.
Category

1960s Other Art Style William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Barbara, Paris
By William Klein
Located in New York, NY
William Klein Barbara, Paris, 1956 gelatin silver print 30 x 40" ed. of 30
Category

1950s Modern William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Related Items
Selwyn Theatre, 42nd Street, New York
By William Klein
Located in Santa Monica, CA
signed by artist
Category

20th Century William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Anne St. Marie + Cruiser in Traffic, NY (Vogue)
By William Klein
Located in Santa Monica, CA
William Klein (born April 19, 1928) is an American-born French photographer and filmmaker noted for his ironic approach to both media and his extensive use of unusual photographic te...
Category

1960s William Klein Art

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C Print

Barack Obama, Final Campaign Rally, Des Moines, Iowa
By Nikki Kahn
Located in Santa Monica, CA
Signed and numbered in pencil on verso.
Category

2010s William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Untitled #1
By Noell Oszvald
Located in Santa Monica, CA
Signed, dated, titled and numbered in pencil on verso.
Category

2010s William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Martha Graham
By Yousuf Karsh
Located in Santa Monica, CA
Karsh is a master 20th Century photographer. Karsh is known for his portraits of authors, scientists, artists, statesmen, musicians, and other distinguished individuals. His photogra...
Category

1940s William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Albert Einstein
By Yousuf Karsh
Located in Santa Monica, CA
Karsh is a master 20th Century photographer. Karsh is known for his portraits of authors, scientists, artists, statesmen, musicians, and other distinguished individuals. His photogra...
Category

1940s William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Audrey Hepburn, Rockefeller Tower, New York
By George Douglas
Located in Santa Monica, CA
This is all about the work of George Douglas, a brilliant photographer of the mid 20th Century. In the 1940s, 50s and 60s he worked for leading magazines of the day, both in Britain...
Category

1950s William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Emille Griffiths
By Ormond Gigli
Located in Santa Monica, CA
ORMOND GIGLI was born in New York City in 1925. He became famous early on during the 1950s for his photographs of theatre, celebrities, dance, exotic persons & places. His work appea...
Category

1950s William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Birthday Gloves, New York
By Horst P. Horst
Located in Santa Monica, CA
signed by artist
Category

20th Century William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Elbowing Out of Town, News Stand, New York
By Louis Stettner
Located in Santa Monica, CA
Elbowing Out of Town, News Stand, New York 1954 Gelatin Silver print Signed, titled and dated in pencil on verso. Embossed artist stamp on recto. 16 x 20 inches. Matted to 20 x 2...
Category

1950s William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Ajax, Burlington, Vermont
By David Plowden
Located in Santa Monica, CA
For more than fifty years, photographer David Plowden has documented a vanishing America and continues to produce new exhibitions, books and other publications. Of his work Plowden s...
Category

1970s William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Waitress, Garrick Club, London
By Evelyn Hofer
Located in Santa Monica, CA
EVELYN HOFER (b. 1922 in Marburg an der Lahn, Germany, d. 2009 in Mexico City) grew up in Switzerland and Spain. Before her parents moved to Mexico, Hofer apprenticed for two Swiss p...
Category

1960s William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Previously Available Items
William Klein Bikini Moscow exhibition poster (William Klein Paris 1981)
By William Klein
Located in NEW YORK, NY
William Klein Bikini, Moscow Exhibition Poster: Galerie Zabriskie, Paris, 1981 A chic, elegant, rare vintage William Klein exhibit poster defined by Klein's famed 'Bikini, Moscow' (1...
Category

1960s Contemporary William Klein Art

Materials

Lithograph, Offset

William Klein MoMa press photo "Kiev Railway Station" 1981
By William Klein
Located in NEW YORK, NY
Publicity print for William Klein at MoMa 1981. William Klein 'Kiev Railroad Station, Moscow' (1959). Silver gelatin print; 8x10 inches; very good vintage condition. Unsigned from a...
Category

1950s Contemporary William Klein Art

Materials

Photographic Paper, Silver Gelatin

William Klein-Evelyn + Gauloise, Paris (1958)-31.5" x 23.5"-Poster-1995
By William Klein
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Some rippling present in the top edge of the print.
Category

20th Century William Klein Art

Materials

Offset

New York, No. 3, Macy's Department Store
By William Klein
Located in Dallas, TX
Signed, titled, dated and print date.
Category

1950s Other Art Style William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Atomic Bomb Sky, New York
By William Klein
Located in Santa Monica, CA
signed by artist
Category

William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Muhammad Ali, Kinshasa, Republique Democratique du Congo
By William Klein
Located in Santa Monica, CA
William Klein (American, b. April 19, 1928) is a photographer best known for incorporating unusual elements into his photographs and videos. Born in New York, he grew up as a Jewish ...
Category

1970s William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Club Allegro Fortissimo, Paris
By William Klein
Located in Santa Monica, CA
signed by artist
Category

William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Smoke & Veil, Paris Vogue
By William Klein
Located in Santa Monica, CA
signed by artist
Category

William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Barbershop, Rome
By William Klein
Located in Santa Monica, CA
William Klein (born April 19, 1928) is an American-born French photographer and filmmaker noted for his ironic approach[1][2] to both media and his extensive use of unusual photograp...
Category

1950s William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Two Waiters in Café, Rome
By William Klein
Located in Santa Monica, CA
signed by artist
Category

William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Tatiana, Mary Rose and Camels, Picnic, Morocco, 1958
By William Klein
Located in New York, NY
William Klein (born in New York, NY, on April 19, 1928) is a photographer and filmmaker. Though born in New York and educated at the City College of New York, Klein is predominantly ...
Category

1950s William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Simone, Painting, Coffee, Rome
By William Klein
Located in Santa Monica, CA
signed by artist
Category

William Klein Art

Materials

Silver Gelatin

William Klein art for sale on 1stDibs

Find wide variety of William Klein art available for sale on 1stDibs. You can also browse by medium to find art by William Klein in silver gelatin print, platinum print, c print and more. Much of the original work by this artist or collective was created during the 20th Century and is mostly associated with the Modern style. Not every interior allows for large William Klein art, so small editions measuring 12 inches across are available. Those interested in this artist might also find the work of Julius Shulman, Lucienne Bloch and Weegee. William Klein art prices can differ depending upon medium, time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $640 and tops out at $8,500, while the average work can sell for $6,000.

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