A kids' guide to Yves Klein’s blue

Think art history is hard? Think again. The Italian painter and illustrator Fausto Gilberti has made it child’s play!
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Yves Klein by Fausto Gilberti
Yves Klein by Fausto Gilberti

20th century abstract art can be among the most difficult stuff to get your head around in a museum or art gallery. But the Italian illustrator and artist Fausto Gilberti has found a wonderfully simple way to explain it to children everywhere in his new book Yves Klein Painted Everything Blue and Wasn’t Sorry.


A spread from Yves Klein Painted Everything Blue and Wasn’t Sorry
A spread from Yves Klein Painted Everything Blue and Wasn’t Sorry

Here’s how he handles the creative process behind Klein’s famous blue which he called International Klein Blue. “It was raining in Paris and Yves was thinking,” writes Gilberti. “He was thinking about the stunning blue sky he saw while lying on the beach. He imagined that the sky was one of his paintings. His most beautiful one! Yves was an artist.

“Yves decided that, from then on, he would paint everything in blue! But not any old blue – Yves wanted a unique blue, his own blue. He mixed powder, glue, and some other secret ingredients. He mixed and tested and mixed and tested until he found the blue that he was looking for. It was a bright, vivid blue, and it reminded him of the sky and sea. He called it ‘International Klein Blue’!

 

A spread from Yves Klein Painted Everything Blue and Wasn’t Sorry
A spread from Yves Klein Painted Everything Blue and Wasn’t Sorry

“Yves was so happy that he immediately created eleven all-blue paintings that looked exactly alike. He put them in a case and set off for Italy. He wanted to display them at an exhibition in Milan.

“Yves hung them on the gallery walls and put a different price on each one. Even though all the paintings were almost identical, Italian collectors looked at all of them carefully, trying to find the smallest differences. Yves Klein’s blue phase had begun.”

 

Yves Klein Painted Everything Blue and Wasn’t Sorry here

Of course, that isn’t the end of the story. To read it in full, order a copy of Yves Klein Painted Everything Blue and Wasn’t Sorry here.


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