The French artist Yves Klein was one of the most influential modern artists of the avant-garde art movement during the late 1950s and early 60s, and a seminal figure in postwar French painting. He was a leading member of Nouveau Realisme, an art movement inspired by Dada, which he co-founded in 1960 with the art critic Pierre Restany (1930-2003).
Yves Klein is best known for his trademark ultramarine pigment, which he patented as International Klein Blue (IKB) in 1961. “Blue…is beyond dimensions, whereas the other colors are not,” he said. “All colors arouse specific ideas, while blue suggests at most the sea and the sky; and they, after all, are in actual, visible nature what is most abstract.” Starting in the mid-1950s, Klein made retinal blue monochromes (which would prove cornerstones of Minimalism) and the pigment would also feature prominently in his Anthropometry paintings, for which Klein smeared nude women with blue pigment and used them as human brushes on canvas, sometimes in elaborate public performances.