Pray + Sin, New York 1959

William Klein

FIFTY ONE + William Klein

04/09/2015

21/11/2015

FIFTY ONE TOO

Opening: Thursday, September 3rd 2015

GALLERY FIFTY ONE is pleased to announce its third solo show by cult artist William Klein (USA, 1928). A large body of work consisting of photography, filmmaking, painting and graphic design is conceived over the last 60 years, yet Klein continues to evolve his visual language. Internationally renowned for his straightforward street and fashion photography, this exhibition will also include his lesser-known early works, which reveal the transition from painting to photography and the evolution in mixed media.

Read the full press release here.

William Klein - Pizzeria, night, New York 1957
William Klein - Pizzeria, night, New York 1957
William Klein - Katucha + Khadripa , St. Laurent, Paris 1992
William Klein - Katucha + Khadripa , St. Laurent, Paris 1992
William Klein - M. Ali + Bundini, Miami 1964
William Klein - M. Ali + Bundini, Miami 1964
William Klein - Backstage, Jean-Paul Gautier, Paris 1986
William Klein - Backstage, Jean-Paul Gautier, Paris 1986

William Klein

An international jury at Photokina 1963 voted William Klein one of the 30 most important photographers in the medium’s history. He became famous in Europe immediately upon publication of his strikingly intense book of photographs, Life Is Good for You in New York – William Klein Trance Witness Revels, for which he won the Prix Nadar in 1956. Klein’s visual language made an asset out of accidents, graininess, blurriness, and distortion. He has described his work as “a crash course in what was not to be done in photography.” Klein employed a wide-angle lens, fast film, and novel framing and printing procedures to make images in a fragmented, anarchic mode that emphasized raw immediacy and highlighted the photographer’s presence in the scene.

Born and raised in New York, William Klein graduated from high school at age 14 and subsequently studied sociology at City College of the City of New York. After two years in the United States Army, where he worked as an army newspaper cartoonist, he attended the Sorbonne, Paris, on the G. I. Bill. He studied painting briefly with Fernand Léger and has lived in Paris since 1948, working as a painter, graphic designer, photographer and filmmaker.

 

biography

Born in New York City, US in 1928
Lives and works in Paris, France

William Klein - Gun 1, New York, 1955
William Klein - Dorothy Shooting Light From Hip, Paris, 1962
William Klein - Dorothy Shooting Light From Hip, Paris, 1962

Klein exhibited throughout Europe as a painter, producing abstract murals for French and Italian architects. He first photographed his murals in motion in 1952 and began experimenting with the medium. He was very much influenced at this time by the work of Man Ray, Alexander Rodchenko, the Dadaists and the Bauhaus.

Klein revisited New York in 1954 and began his documentation of the city, hurling himself into the urban chaos. He worked in direct opposition to the model of elegance and discretion he saw in the images of Henri Cartier-Bresson. From 1955 to 1965, Klein produced bizarrely original fashion photography for Vogue and other publications. His employer at Vogue, Alexander Liberman wrote, “In the fashion pictures of the fifties, nothing like Klein had happened before. He went to extremes, which took a combination of great ego and courage. He pioneered the telephoto and wide-angle lenses, giving us a new perspective. He took fashion out of the studio and into the streets.”

Klein first took up filmmaking in 1958. In 1965, he abandoned still photography to concentrate on films for cinema and television. His best known works in this medium are Cassius the Great (a film on Muhammad Ali) and Loin du Vietnam, on which he collaborated with directors Alain Resnais, Jean-Luc Godard, and others. He has completed over 20 films in the last 25 years.

William Klein - Street + Football, Rome, 1958
William Klein - Street + Football, Rome, 1958
William Klein - Bikini, Moscou, 1959
William Klein - Bikini, Moscou, 1959
William Klein - Red Light, Rome, 1956
William Klein - Red Light, Rome, 1956
William Klein - Atom Bomb Sky, New York, 1955
William Klein - Atom Bomb Sky, New York, 1955
William Klein - Wings of the Hawk, 42nd Street, New York, 1955
William Klein - Wings of the Hawk, 42nd Street, New York, 1955
William Klein - Selwyn, New York, 42nd Street, 1955
William Klein - Selwyn, New York, 42nd Street, 1955
William Klein - Summer evening, via di Monserrato, Rome, 1956
William Klein - Summer evening, via di Monserrato, Rome, 1956
William Klein - Neon Night #2, Ikebana, Tokyo, 1961
William Klein - Neon Night #2, Ikebana, Tokyo, 1961
William Klein - Subway, Tokyo, 1961
William Klein - Subway, Tokyo, 1961
William Klein - Cine Poster, Tokyo, 1961
William Klein - Cine Poster, Tokyo, 1961
William Klein - 3 Profiles dont flic, New York, 1955
William Klein - 3 Profiles dont flic, New York, 1955
William Klein - 4 Heads, New York, 1955
William Klein - 4 Heads, New York, 1955
William Klein - Anouk Aimee, Paris, 1961
William Klein - Anouk Aimee, Paris, 1961
William Klein - Dorothy + Little Bara + Cello, Paris, 1960
William Klein - Dorothy + Little Bara + Cello, Paris, 1960
William Klein - Club Allegro Fortissimo, Paris, 1990
William Klein - Club Allegro Fortissimo, Paris, 1990
William Klein - Antonia + Simone + Barber Shop, New York (Vogue), 1961
William Klein - Antonia + Simone + Barber Shop, New York (Vogue), 1961
William Klein - Antonia, Yellow Cab, New York, 1962
William Klein - Antonia, Yellow Cab, New York, 1962
William Klein - Dolores + pink wool, New York (Vogue), 1958
William Klein - Dolores + pink wool, New York (Vogue), 1958
William Klein - Abstract #6, Paris 1952
William Klein - Abstract #6, Paris 1952
William Klein - Abstract #7, Paris 1952
William Klein - Abstract #7, Paris 1952
William Klein - Look Left, London, 2000
William Klein - Look Left, London, 2000
William Klein - Ali+Bundini, Miami, Florida, 1964
William Klein - Ali+Bundini, Miami, Florida, 1964