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WILLIAM KLEIN | INVESTING IN ART
William Klein was born in New York in 1928 and is recognized as one of the hundred most influential photographers in the world as well as a film director and author of more than twenty feature films and documentaries. The recipient of numerous awards, Klein was honored with a Commander of Arts and Letters in France in 1989, the Medal of the Century by the Royal Photographic Society in London in 1999 and the International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2007.
 
Works by William Klein are included the collections of many institutions, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Fast-approaching his nineties, Klein continues to live and work in Paris, France.
Nearly a hundred years after The Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald first stepped off a boat in Europe, there are still young Americans who dream of following in the footsteps of William Klein’s generation; living in Paris, meeting in bars, writing novels, painting in rooftop studios, fulfilling ideas of what an artist’s life should be.

It this was certainly the life that he dreamt about as a teenager in New York in the early 1940s where he grew up a disillusioned youth, calling Brooklyn ‘the sticks’ and a ‘second-rate civilization’. The outspoken Klein was also desperately keen to escape his family’s destiny as his father had lost his money in the Wall Street crash and was reduced to selling insurance and his uncle Louis, by contrast, was a top entertainment lawyer whose clients included Charlie Chaplin, Mae West and Salvador Dali.
WILLIAM KLEIN
Crowd, Palladium Ballroom, New York, 2001

Edition of 500
35(w) x 25(h) cm
14.02(w) x 10.00(h) inches
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35(w) x 25(h) cm
14.02(w) x 10.00(h) inches
Iris print
Edition of 500
PRICE
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In 1946 Klein joined the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany, where he won his first camera in a poker game. He arrived in his beloved Paris a year later and at the age of 19 he chose to study painting at the famous Sorbonne art school. He’d always wanted to be an artist. In New York as a schoolboy he had haunted the Museum of Modern Art, particularly the cinema, where he’d seen films by Eisenstein and Fritz Lang. After the Sorbonne he enrolled briefly with the painter André Lhote, who had taught a young Henri Cartier-Bresson 20 years earlier, before moving to the far more stimulating atmosphere of Fernand Léger’s studio. But the allure of Paris and the finesse of the lifestyle that he found for himself there, at once reminded him of the contrasting experience he grew up with in Manhattan and despite the resentment he felt for bygone years, he was lured back in 1955 to document New York’s economic and cultural regeneration.

By now, in his late twenties, he was a photographer, albeit an accidental one with no formal training. A chance meeting with Vogue magazine’s art director whilst carrying out a painting commission for Léger, had opened the door to a successful career-start, documenting real life situations such as people going about their daily lives, often crossing the street or getting out of a taxi, against gritty backdrops. Klein’s photographs weren’t clean, sterile, and clinical, rather they were frenetic; full of energy, vibrance, and a sense of rebellion that went against the grain. Jobs in glossy allowed Klein to do independent projects and the first of them was "New York" in 1955, a series that Eyestorm collaborated on in 2000 to produce limited edition prints. It wasn’t adopted by the American establishment in 1955, but was praised in Europe, becoming an instant classic photography anthology and is recognized now as one of the greatest post-war photo albums of all time, and one which won him the prestigious Prix Nadar prize in 1957 for a photography book published in Paris.
WILLIAM KLEIN
Barbara in the 20's, Paris, 1956, 2001

Edition of 125
30(w) x 35(h) cm
11.97(w) x 14.02(h) inches
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30(w) x 35(h) cm
11.97(w) x 14.02(h) inches
Iris Print
Edition of 125
NOT AVAILABLE
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The cosmopolitan culture in the US found fault with the technique as much as with the subject matter of “New York”, deeming them unprofessional pictures, grainy, with too much contrast, blur, shooting of wide-angles and unflattering close-ups. On top of this was the acutely subjective view, which looked at the metropolis with a phenomenal documentary sharpness that was insulting to its residents. Miserable, corrupt, uncomfortable, the focus of world concern, the project unmasked images of young residents of Harlem, gypsies, nightclub visitors, protestors, housewives sweeping streets, products in the supermarket, crowds and vulgar advertising signs. Klein’s technique also toyed with taboos in the photography industry that of high-contrast, decomposition, and distortion. But the wide-angle lens, through which the series was shot, got him up close and personal with his subjects and looking at the photos you feel yourself there, as an intimate participant of the scene, rather than a voyeur simply observing from the outside. This is what made the series so famous.

Klein exploited the techniques he developed to his advantage and his restless gaze upon urban street life gave him a sly eye for offhand moments. “I came from the outside, the rules of photography didn't interest me. There were things you could do with a camera that you couldn't do with any other medium-grain, contrast, blur, cock-eyed framing, eliminating or exaggerating grey tones and so on. I thought it would be good to show what's possible, to say that this is as valid of a way of using the camera as conventional approaches”. Indeed his approach was a revolutionary realism method for urban photography of the 50's & 60's and it demonstrated the visual affinity between the urgent, blurred and grainy style of photography and the shared desire to convey the immediacy of street life and political protest, from anti-war demonstrations and gay pride marches to the effects of globalisation and urban deprivation. Of his work, Klein remarked “I was in search of the straightest of straight documents, the rawest snapshot, the zero degree of photography” .
WILLIAM KLEIN
Black Woman, Profile in Crowd, 2001

Edition of 500
40(w) x 30(h) cm
15.75(w) x 11.81(h) inches
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Art is about talking with each other and via ‘Make an Offer’ you can have a direct conversation with us and suggest a price for this artwork.
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Name *
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40(w) x 30(h) cm
15.75(w) x 11.81(h) inches
Iris Print
Edition of 500
PRICE
$ 550.00
MAKE AN OFFER
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The strength in William Klein’s photographs is that they aren’t nearly as political as that of photojournalists or reportage photographers as they embrace the subjective view of the photographer on this subjects, rather than an objective view of reality. Klein didn’t feel the need to editorialize life but to make it more subjective, personal, and intimate and this approach made way for a prolific decade following the fifties. In the 1960s the multidisciplinary artist released several books - ‘Rome, Moscow, Tokyo’ - as well as movies and television shows. For a while, Klein then put photography aside to focus solely on directing long features including ‘Far from Vietnam’ (1967), ‘Mr. Freedom’ (1969), ‘Muhammad Ali, the Greatest’ (1974), and ‘Le couple témoin’ (1976). The late eighties marked his return to photography when he published several books - ‘Close Up’ (1989), ‘Torino' 90’ (1990), ‘In & Out of Fashion’ (1994) and into the 21st century his production has barely slowed and his work has been shown in museums across the world and traded at all the major auction houses alongside industry-famous contemporaries Helmut Newton and Mario Testino.

Based on a selection of photographs from the 1950'ies, Eyestorm and Klein released two series of exclusive iris prints in 2001. The first series of five photographs was of the famous model Barbara Mullen Morel during the time she was working in Paris for Christian Dior and Coco Chanel - and the second series was fifteen shots of day to day life in New York City. A few pieces of the second series are now available.

You can see available work by William Klein on this artist page here.
 
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