International Klein Blue

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For the Australian rock band named after this color, see Yves Klein Blue.
IKB 191 (1962), 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 (IKB) was developed by Yves Klein in collaboration with Edouard Adam, a Parisian art paint supplier whose shop is still in business on the Boulevard Edgar-Quinet in Montparnasse.[1] The uniqueness of IKB does not derive from the ultramarine pigment, but rather from the matte, synthetic resin binder in which the color is suspended, and which allows the pigment to maintain as much of its original qualities and intensity of color as possible.[citation needed] The synthetic resin used in the binder is a polyvinyl acetate developed and marketed at the time under the name Rhodopas M or M60A by the French pharmaceutical company Rhône-Poulenc.[2] Adam still sells the binder under the name "Médium Adam 25."[1]

In May 1960, Klein deposited a Soleau envelope, registering the paint formula under the name International Klein Blue (IKB) at the Institut national de la propriété industrielle (INPI),[3] but he never patented IKB. Only valid under French law, a soleau enveloppe registers the date of invention, according to the depositor, prior to any legal patent application. The copy held by the INPI was destroyed in 1965. Klein's own copy, which the INPI returned to him duly stamped is still extant.[4]

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.[5]

Usage in Yves Klein's art[edit]

L'accord bleu (RE 10), 1960, 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. Six sculptures by Klein in the Musiktheater im Revier, Gelsenkirchen, Germany, are executed in IKB.

International Klein Blue in culture[edit]


In the 2010 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.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Le medium Adam25, Adam Montmartre
  2. ^ Yves Klein: Les Monochromes de l'Époque Bleue (1955–1962). International Klein Blue
  3. ^ "Restoring the Immaterial: Study and Treatment of Yves Klein's Blue Monochrome (IKB42)". Modern Paint Uncovered. [full citation needed]
  4. ^ Denys Riout, Yves Klein: L'aventure monochrome (Paris: Gallimard, 2006), p. 36–37.
  5. ^ Espacenet Patent search. FR1258418 (A) – Procédé de décoration ou d'intégration architecturale et produits obtenus par application dudit procédé (French)
  6. ^ "International Klein Blue" by Kliché on YouTube

External links[edit]