Franz Kline: From Pennsylvania Coal Country to the Nation’s Capital


Born in the coal-mining town of Wilkes-Barre, PA, Franz Kline was feted in the nation’s capital shortly after his death for the Americanness of his painting. Dr. AnnMarie Perl examines three related paradoxes: why was Kline, who worked from sketches, hailed as “the Action Painter par excellence”; how did the avant-garde movement of Abstract Expressionism become a propaganda tool in the Cold War; how did Kline’s abstractions register industrialization, urbanization and suburbanization in America at mid-century.