International Klein Blue

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For the Australian rock band named after this color see Yves Klein Blue.
IKB 191, one of a number of works Klein painted with International Klein Blue.

International Klein Blue (IKB) is a deep blue hue first mixed by the French artist Yves Klein. IKB's visual impact comes from its heavy reliance on Ultramarine, as well as Klein's often thick and textured application of paint to canvas.


Synthetic ultramarine, similar to that used in IKB pigment.

International Klein Blue (or IKB as it is known in art circles) was developed by Yves Klein as part of his search for colors which best represented the concepts he wished to convey as an artist. IKB was developed by Klein and chemists at the French pharmaceutical company Rhône Poulenc to have the same color brightness and intensity as dry pigments, which it achieves by suspending dry pigment in polyvinyl acetate, a synthetic resin otherwise marketed in France at the time by Rhône Poulenc as Rhodopas M or M60A.[1]

In May 1960, Klein deposited a Soleau envelope,[2] registering his paint formulation under the name International Klein Blue (IKB) at the Institut national de la propriété industrielle. The patent was published in April 1961.

In March 1960, Klein patented a method by which he was able to distance himself from the physical creation of his paintings by remotely directing models covered in the color.[3]

Usage in Yves Klein's art[edit]

L'accord bleu (RE 10), 1960 a mixed media piece by Yves Klein featuring IKB pigment on canvas and sponges

Although Klein had worked with blue extensively in his earlier career, it was not until 1958 that he used it as the central component of a piece (the color effectively becoming the art). Klein embarked on a series of monochromatic works using IKB as the central theme. These included performance art where Klein painted models' naked bodies and had them walk, roll and sprawl upon blank canvases as well as more conventional single-color canvases.

International Klein Blue in culture[edit]


In the novel Zero History by William Gibson, the character Hubertus Bigend has a suit made of material in IKB. In the novel he states that he wears this because the intensity of the color frequently makes other people uncomfortable, and because he is amused by the difficulty of reproducing the color on a computer monitor.


  • Yves Klein Blue, an Australian rock band, take their name from the color.
  • In 1982 Danish rock band Kliche released an instrumental named International Klein Blue.[4]
  • Elijah Blue c/o American synth rock band Deadsy boasts International Klein Blue as an official color or entity added to his character/persona.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yves Klein: Les Monochromes de l'Époque Bleue (1955-1962). International Klein Blue
  2. ^ "Restoring the Immaterial: Study and Treatment of Yves Klein's Blue Monochrome (IKB42)". Modern Paint Uncovered. 
  3. ^ Espacenet Patent search. FR1258418 (A) - Procédé de décoration ou d'intégration architecturale et produits obtenus par application dudit procédé (French)
  4. ^ "International Klein Blue on Youtube". 

External links[edit]