41: Yves Klein, "Table Bleue", Designed 1961
Table Bleue", designed 1961
Plexiglass, IKB pigment, chrome-plated metal, wood. 15 1/2 x 49 1/4 x 39 3/8 in. (39.4 x 125.1 x 100 cm.). Produced under the supervision of Rotraut Klein-Moquay, France, starting in 1963. From the edition of 300. Underside with plastic label "This table conforms/to Yves Klein patent/SERIAL NUMBER 08 ET-DOI" and with Rotraut Klein-Moquay's facsimile signature.
PROVENANCE Leslie Tonkonow Projects, New York
LITERATURE Barbara Bloemink and Joseph Cunningham, Design ? Art: Functional Objects from Donald Judd to Rachel Whiteread, exh. cat., Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum, New York, 2004, p. 27, fig. 14
The Chelsea Hotel, fickle temptress, has disappointed many artists, not least of all Yves Klein. He lived there in 1961 during his New York debut, "Yves Klein le monochrome," a solo exhibition at Leo Castelli Gallery. Things got ugly: critics ranted; Rothko, whom Klein greatly admired, turned his back—literally. Wounded, Klein penned "Chelsea Hotel Manifesto," a trembling apologia. It began with a series of retorts repeated one after another in response to his detractors: "Due to the fact that I have invented the architecture and the urbanism of air—" and so forth. They were not the first phantasms to haunt the Chelsea Hotel. "What can I do now? Stop now?" He died the following year. The intervening decades have been kinder to Klein, now regarded as a seminal figure in postwar European art and a progenitor of conceptualism. Klein's activities have become legendary: he exhibited nothing; painted with fire; sold air for gold; wrote a symphony composed of a single sustained note followed by silence. He also patented the color blue, an obsession. "And all of this because the void has been my constant preoccupation…" In 1961, his penultimate year, Klein designed "Table Bleue," which he filled with International Klein Blue (IKB), his own synthetic ultramarine pigment. Rotraut Klein-Moquay, his widow, produced and signed a posthumous edition of three hundred tables, a fitting coda for an artist who wished to be "detached from all physical work during the time of creation." Nothing could be more detached than Klein triumphant in the void. Phillips de Pury & Company would like to thank the Yves Klein Foundation for its assistance in cataloging this lot.