Kline, Franz, 1910–62, American painter, b. Wilkes-Barre, Pa. He studied (1937–38) in England, then settled in New York City. His first works were representational, often portraying the industrial landscapes of Pennsylvania's coal and steel towns. From 1950 on, however, Kline created large canvases of dynamically painted abstractions—shafts of jutting black on fields of scumbled white. His works often recall Chinese calligraphy but he himself denied Asian influence. His subsequent works, sometimes with notes of bright color, established his reputation as one of the most important figures in abstract expressionism.
See museum catalogs ed. by C. Christov-Bakargiev et al. (2004) and R. S. Mattison and I. Sandler (2013); memoir by F. Dawson (1967); H. Gaugh, The Vital Gesture: Franz Kline (1985).