Talk:International Klein Blue

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The sources of information about IKB that I consulted all have the same RGB value, but different CMYK values ([1], [2] and [3]). I suppose there is not an exact conversion. Also, the range is different, because it seems that Wikipedia uses a value between 0 and 255, and not between 0 and 100. I will convert the first CMYK value I've found to this range (0-255). Please, if I'm wrong please correct the article. Thanks. --suruena 16:36, 2005 Apr 9 (UTC)

I've updated the color specs, referring to images at link is now dead and [4] and my own memory:
Hex triplet #002199
RGB (0, 33, 153)
CMYK (100, 95, 12, 5)
HSV (227°, 100%, 60%)
I was unable to find actual specifications for the color but there should be some since it's a patented color. The physical properties of the paint beyond its color are in part responsible for its luminous appearance and are impossible to reproduce and difficult to estimate. I think the values I've chosen are a good representation, although I'm a little concerned that it's too dark; rather than second guess my intuition, I've tried to err on the side of accuracy to the above sites.
As a saturated blue, CMYK cannot reproduce IKB well. The values given are Photoshop 8's conversion from Adobe RGB (1998) -> U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2 with Perceptual intent and would produce only a poor approximation of IKB. Is there a wikipedia policy regarding giving color values for out-of-gamut colors?
If I were forced to pick a PMS color (comparing swatches to just my memory, now) I would go with 293, which PS calls (0, 73, 178) and (100, 77, 12, 2). PS calls my choice closest to Reflex which makes me wonder again if it's too dark. But that, too, is a physical thing, not a display screen one. On screen, it's definitely a better choice. VermillionBird 21:42, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
Hm, it looks a little dark to me too... Anyway, googling a little I found that the patent number in France is 63471. The patent application is supposed to be in the book Yves Klein by Sidra Stich. Maybe if someone has that book. Or if anyone knows how to find old patents... --RE 22:47, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
I had accidentally made the image at Yves Klein slightly lighter; I've updated this article so the two colors match. I'll now leave it alone unless I can find a definitive source. VermillionBird 15:14, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

How about details on the sythetic resin and the recipe for combining the pigment and resin? I was fortunate to see a Klein exhibition in Australia in 1998, and more than the exact shade of blue, it was the application of the blue that seemed mesmerizing. The "powdered" appearance of the pigment, with the barely perceptable shadows of the tiny pigment granules, gave the surfaces of his blue canvases their power. I'd love to know how one applies pigment in the way that Klein did. I've found this online so far: "Klein realized that pigments always tended to look richer and more gorgeous as a dry powder than when mixed with a binder, and he wanted to find a way to capture this appearance in a paint. In 1955 he found his answer: a new synthetic fixative resin called Rhodopas M60A, which could be thinned to act as a binder without impairing the chromatic strength of the pigment. This gave the paint surface a matt, velvety texture.

Klein collaborated with a Parisian chemical manufacturer and retailer of artists' materials named Edouard Adam to develop a recipe for binding ultramarine in the resin mixed with other organic chemicals. To protect this wonderful new paint from misuse that would compromise the purity of his idea, he patented it in 1960."

and this:


Yves Klein started painting blue monochrome works in 1955. He had started talking about International Klein Blue (IKB) around 1957 or early 1958 and patented the actual process of making the paint itself in 1960. In essence, IKB is a slab of ultramarine pigment suspended in a clear commercial binder, Rhodopas. The effect is to preserve the granularity of the pigment and to seal it so that a thickness of pure pigment can be hung vertically on the wall, like an upended tray. The origins of IKB, according to Klein himself, are twofold, and both significant for Jarman's re-use of this particular medium. First, the idea of monochrome came to Klein while he was playing a jazz improvisation based on the thought of Max Heindel, a Rosicrucian philosopher, or cosmogonist, who profoundly influenced Klein. Heindel, in his exposition of Rosicrucian beliefs, claimed that blue was the highest of the colours, that of spirit freed from material form. Klein believed that his IKB monochromes symbolically presented the prospect of release from materiality and entry into a world of pure spirit. In art-theoretic terms, Klein considered that art should consist simply of pure colour and that the invention of drawing and image-making, the rival tradition to that of pure colour, represented, in effect, a fall from paradise. Historically, painting had begun with pure pigment. Others, like Malevich, had shown the way back to colour, but were still bedevilled by the idea of composition. Only Klein himself, however, fully understood the true meaning and role of monochrome.

In conjunction with his mystical belief in the spiritual power of monochrome, Klein also derived his insistence on pure pigment from his intense personal experience of the materiality of paint. In 1949, aged 21, he had worked for about a year in London, in the Old Brompton Road frame-shop of Robert Savage, a friend of his father. There he experienced w hat he called 'the illumination of matter'. As he wroter later,

   I disliked colours ground in oil. They seemed dead to me; what pleased me above all were pure pigments, in powder, such as I saw them in the windows of retail paint-sellers. They had brightness and extraordinary, autonomous lives of their own. This was essential colour. Living tangible colourmatter. It was depressing to see such glowing powder, once mixed in a distemper, or whatever medium intended as a fixative, lose its value, tarnish, become dull. One might obtain effects of paste but after drying it wasn't the same; the effective colour magic had vanished.

Traditionally, ultramarine was the most precious of pigments, which for centuries could be obtained only from lapis lazuli quarried at a single mine in Afghanistan, shipped to Europe via Venice or Aleppo. The mine was first described in the west in 1837, by which time it was exhausted. To IKB Klein later added gold leaf, which he had worked with in the same frame-shop, when gilding frams for Savage, and then rose, to complete his colour repertoire, as a tribute to the Rose Cross. Klein's approach to colour and pigment combined many elements: an obsession with its spiritual meaning, an optical delight in its intensity and granularity, an occult interest in its symbolic interpretation, a fascination with the precious and the antique...."

I hate to make a nusiance of myself but there are bits of this article I don't like. Firstly the speculation '(the color effectively becoming the art)' which is not wholy accurate, also 'Klein painted models' naked bodies' implies he painted them, he didn't its common knowledge that he worked in a tux and white gloves and distanced himself from the paint, lastly the phrase 'more conventional single-color canvases.' implies that these were ordinary art for the time of painting, however they were not conventional hence the reason they were not accepted by the salon and that they were controvercial. I would change the article, but last time I did I got in trouble with the wiki authorites, anyway I'm doing an artist study for A-level and when I saw this article thought it needed some clearing up! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:30, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

There are no references to the apparent patent granted to Klein or his chemist collaborator. I'm going to assert that there is no patent. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:49, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

I did a websearch for IKB in RGB and found the following specs:

RGB (0, 47, 167)
CMYK (98, 84, 0, 0)


I hope this helps anyone's research. Unidyne (talk) 07:38, 1 December 2013 (UTC)


IKB encompasses both a method and a hue. Since Selfridges is painted not in a pigment suspended in a clear resin, but, rather, in a conventional opaque surface coating, it cannot be said to be IKB. The referencing may need to be tidied up, but the linked article details the surface coating used.

Architects' Journal building study (talk) 10:13, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

The linked article reads like an advertisement and spam...Modernist (talk) 11:32, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

I've undone your edit, since it is wholly inaccurate. IKB's formulation is a critical part of Klein's artwork and that a shade which echoes it is not itself IKB. The linked article, from a respected architectural journal, details the choice of shade for Selfridges and the product used.

If you feel this is inappropriate, the whole Selfridges section could be removed, but the article itself is neither spam nor advertising. (talk) 12:09, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

I am going to remove the article as a link, and reinclude it as reference to the Selfridges section. As an external link it reads as spam...Modernist (talk) 12:20, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

I think that's a sensible approach, thanks. The referencing may need to be tidied up, but the linked article details the surface coating used. ;) (talk) 12:24, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

I think it works better now...:)...Modernist (talk) 12:45, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

I agree. Another good edit war ruined ;) (talk) 14:49, 29 May 2009 (UTC)


The article currently claims that the color is "outside the gamut of computer displays." That's quite an extraordinary claim, and has been tagged [citation needed for a while], so I removed it. -- (talk) 06:42, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Yep, IKB is well outside typical computer display gamut. Why does that claim seem extraordinary? Computer displays have quite limited gamut compared to the natural world. Unfortunately I can’t find any good colorimetric measurements of Klein’s paintings online. –jacobolus (t) 23:56, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Well, perhaps it only seems extraordinary because I have a very poor understanding of computer monitor technology!  :) I found a possible citation here, but to be honest they might have been relying on wikipedia for that info--certainly the sentence structure was identical to that on this page. A secondary problem is this possibility: that it once was outside the gamut, but as monitor technology has improved and their gamuts expanded, it might be possible on some higher-end displays. I found some diagrams of the gamuts of certain monitors, but have no idea how to find out where IKB is located on the graph. -- (talk) 02:42, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
In re: “might be possible on some higher-end displays”, I don’t believe it is. Have you ever seen any of Klein’s work? The blue is really something else. –jacobolus (t) 02:56, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
Computer displays can only attempt to synthesise a colour's RGB equivalent. This may be in the gamut of a display yet when seen the effect is not the same a the real thing. The extent to which RGB can reproduce real colours which are spectra of many wavelengths is often questioned. There are other things such as saturation, lighting and texture which cannot be reproduced. Also the sheer size of the pieces has effects that can't be reproduced on a small monitor. It is also noted that the background is a gold colour for the statue in the illustration. This is also very bright and saturated. So standing in front of it you will get the Blue/Yellow complementary colour effect. QuentinUK (talk) 20:37, 23 November 2012 (UTC)


Many people refer to the patent when there was no such thing, this is just the easiest translation without also explaining what a Soleau envelope is, a system peculiar to France, so many people just say patent. "On May 19, 1960, Yves Klein registered his paint formulation under the name International Klein Blue (IKB) at the Institut national de la propriété industrielle. It received the Soleau envelope number 63471."

This also includes a photo of said Soleau envelope. Although I cannot read all the details of YK's handwriting it is clear that this is a paint formula.

The patent: It is called "Procédé de décoration ou d'intégration architecturale et produits obtenus par application dudit procédé"

Found the translation here, not so hard to find when you press the right button:

This is a totally different document. So there are two documents after all. QuentinUK (talk) 21:38, 23 November 2012 (UTC)