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In the spring of 1961, Yves Klein and hisfiancee Rotraut Uecker, a distinguished artist herself, were en route to NewYork City. Leo Castelli, a leading American art dealer, had scheduled anexhibition of the work of "Yves le Monochrome" (as the painter had styledhimself), to begin on April 11th. The exhibition marked Klein'sfirst solo show in the United States and its closing, set for the 29thof that month, virtually coincided with the artist's thirty-third birthday, celebratedjust the day before.
At the time, apart from the focus of a circle offellow artists, noted critics and European dealers, a few alert collectors andmany incensed detractors, Klein was still far from being recognized as the mostinfluential artist to have emerged in postwar France--as he is regarded today;nor would one even dream that in scarcely more than a year he would bedead.
Robert Pincus-Witten, excerpted from YvesKlein: USA.