While travelling in Italy in 1948, Yves Klein was fascinated by the blue of the frescoes in the basilica of Assisi. In the renaissance the blue was made with expensive lapis lazuli powder. One year later Klein created the first monochrome paintings. In 1955 he went to Paris and began the series of "Monochromes", for which he used an ultramarine blue, which was finally patented in 1960 as International Klein Blue (I.K.B.). The colour has a psychological effect; it draws the viewer into the picture. In October 1955 Klein met the art critic Pierre Restany at his first public exhibition of his Monochromes at Editions Lacoste in Paris. In Restany the artist found a congenial interpreter, who intuitively understood his artistic concept. Restany became the closest confidante of the artist and his most forceful advocate und supplied the literary and theoretical foundation for Klein‘s artistic positions.
In February 1956 the exhibition „Yves – Propositions monochrome“ was opened at Galerie Colette Allendy, the concept of which was then presented at Galerie Apollinaire in Milan, in May 1957 at Alfred Schmela in Düsseldorf and at Galerie One in London. In Schmela’s gallery Klein met the German artists Heinz Mack and Otto Piene, who founded the artist group ZERO in 1958.
In 1960 the Manifest Nouveau Réalisme was signed in Klein’s studio and he became a member of the artist group led by Restany.
The present „Monochrome“ is an impressive and typical work by the artist.