Four Square Analysis

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A closer look at Four Square Lights, Energy, Paint! Franz Kline created the energetic painting Four Square in 1956 using oil paints on a large 78 x 50-inch canvas. The painting now belongs to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Kline was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., but grew up in Philadelphia, and attended the School of Fine and Applied Arts at Boston University from 1931 to 1935 and Heatherly's Art School, London (1937–38). (Spencer 231) Kline who is known for his powerful Abstract Expressionism paintings that go beyond two-dimensional presents his subject from various viewpoints creating a depth that looks three-dimensional, setting him apart from his peers who preferred a two-dimensional approach. Kline's black and white painting,…show more content…
Kline's use of black and white paint create a stark contrast that combined with the size creates a feeling of great importance. "Kline's paintings capture the violent ethos of history that lies behind first-generation Abstract Expressionism, an ethos that artists in the postwar period could not avoid" as can clearly be seen in the velocity and roughness of the brushstrokes. (Polcari 91) Although many people feel that Abstract Impressionism is spontaneous, in most cases it was thoughtfully planned out. "Kline's procedure was to make small sketches, often on pages of the telephone book, and then to expand these compositions on canvas" creating Abstract Expressionism in the same tradition of any other conventional artist. (Polcari 90) In the painting Four Square, ridged, bold lines create a representational abstraction that resembles a bridge with water under it seen from different perspectives, an animal, or perhaps a building, leading the viewer to ruminate over what they see or don't see (see figure…show more content…
"These paintings suggest one aspect of their time--the gloominess of the post-World War II mood, which resulted from the monstrous, seemingly endless aggressiveness of humankind; the revelation of the death camps; and the generally felt loss of confidence in humanity--what Alfred Kazin called the "ominousness" of the aftermath of the war." (Polcari 91) Perhaps the powerful emotion thrust into the work is what captures and holds the attention of the viewer as they experience for themselves the magnitude of feelings. "Kline had considerable influence on a number of distinguished younger painters, among them Philip *Guston , Jack *Tworkov , and Milton Resnick." (Spencer
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