"Franz Kline: Coal and Steel," an exhibit curated by Robert S. Mattison, Marshall R. Metzgar Professor of Art History at Lafayette College, is running at Baruch College's Sidney Mishkin Gallery in New York City from Friday, Feb. 8 to Tuesday, March 5.
The opening reception is from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7 in the gallery, 135 E. 22nd St., New York. The show is a condensed version of the exhibition" that debuted at the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley in October.
Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m. and Thursday noon to 7 p.m.
American art critic and educator Irving Sandler will give a talk at the Sidney Mishkin Gallery on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m.
The original exhibit included 64 works by the Pennsylvania-born artist, including many rarely seen or never seen by the public.
Born in Wilkes-Barre, Kline became a major figure of the American Abstract Expressionist movement, which emerged in the 1940s and 50s and was centered in New York City.
Kline's early work pays homage to the coal regions of his childhood home and depicts speeding trains powered by anthracite, bridges and raw industrial scenes. In New York, he painted on the "edge" of the city, illustrating empty squares, skeletal buildings and the abandoned Third Avenue El.
In the "Coal and Steel" exhibit, Mattison makes the case that around 1950, when Kline developed the large-scale black-and-white abstract paintings for which he became internationally famous, he was channeling memories of the trestles, locomotives and coal breakers of his youth. These forms symbolized for him the force of the modern industrial age and informed his contribution to the New York School of painting.
Photo courtesy of Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley.