We learned yesterday of the passing of William Klein this Saturday, September 10. He was 94 years old. Today’s edition is dedicated to him, you will find some of our stories published on Klein from our archives. The International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York has dedicated its entire space to a retrospective exhibition entitled William Klein: YES Photographs, Paintings, Films, 1948–2013, it opened last June and ended yesterday, merely 2 days after his death.
Below is an excerpt from the press release we received from the l’Académie des beaux-arts in Paris.
The permanent secretary Laurent Petitgirard and the members of the Académie des beaux-arts with great sadness of the death of William Klein, photographer, painter, visual artist, graphic designer, director of documentary, advertising and fiction films.
Under the aegis of William Klein and in homage to his work, the Academy created in 2019 the “Prix de Photographie de l’Académie des beaux-arts – William Klein”.
Photographer, painter, filmmaker and graphic designer, William Klein is one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.
Born in New York in 1928, he grew up in Manhattan. In 1954, he designed a photographic journal documenting his return to New York. Without traditional training, he ignores taboos, uses wide angle, grain, blur, violent contrasts, accidents and unusual framing. This resulted in his first book Life is Good and Good For You in New York: Trance Witness Revels. It was published in Paris in 1956, London and Rome but not in New York, as it was deemed too violent and unflattering for the United States. He won the Nadar award in France.
In 1958, Klein made Broadway by Light, probably the first pop film, and in the mid-1960s abandoned photography for cinema. In the 1980s, he returned to photography, exhibited all over the world and published around ten books. In 2008, he published a collection of his large photographs revisited by painting interventions on enlarged contacts, Contacts.
In December 2005, the Centre Pompidou inaugurated a major retrospective of his work and co-published a 400-page book. In 2012, the Tate Modern in London devoted an exhibition to him “William Klein + Daido Moriyama”, followed by exhibitions at Foam in Amsterdam (2013), Abbatiale Saint-Ouen in Rouen (2016), Palazzo della Ragione in Milan (2016), C/O Berlin (2017), Fundacion Telefonica in Madrid (2019) and La Pedrera in Barcelona (2020). In development, a next major retrospective is planned at the Chengdu Contemporary Image Museum.
The work of William Klein marked the history of photography and profoundly influenced two generations of photographers and filmmakers. Until today, he continued to exhibit throughout Europe and around the world.
Académie des beaux-arts