Yves Klein was a French mixed media artist born in 1928 in Nice. Although coming from a family of artists (his mother was Marie Raymond and his father Fred Klein), he initially studied to become a marine officer but ended up dedicating himself to Judo instead and leaving for Japan to create his own school in 1955. The school closed the following year for financial reasons.

Drawing inspiration from the sky that he observed from the beach in Nice, Klein began painting monochromes at the end of the 1940s. His first exhibition was held at the Club des Solitaires in 1955 in Paris. In 1956 he created International Klein Blue, which, in his opinion was the best expression of the colour blue. Klein had multiple exhibitions in 1957 in Milan, London, Düsseldorf, and Paris. The artist had begun painting with natural sponges before choosing to use a paint roller. His collaboration in the construction of the Gelsenkirchen theatre from 1957 to 1959 enabled him to work on his Reliefs-Éponges. Later on he made sponge sculptures, which were intended to represent the spectators of his works.

In 1960 he created « Anthropometries», imprints made of women’s naked bodies painted in blue on white canvases. He also participated with Pierre Restany in the creation of the new realism movement. The founding declaration was signed by his peers, artists such as Raymond Hains, Jacques Villeglé, François Dufrêne and Jean Tinguely. In 1961, at the Haus Lange museum in Krefeld, Klein held a retrospective where he presented sculptures of fire jets and a series of ‘painted’ canvases created with a flame-thrower.
Klein saw colour as something «human and natural», something that would enable the observer to “bathe in a cosmic sensibility”. That same year Klein’s work was exhibited in Milan, New York, Los Angeles and Rome.
He married the artist Rotraut Uecker in 1962 but in June of that same year, Klein passed away from a heart attack.

The artist was also one of the pioneers of conceptual art. His most well-known work in this area was The Void, his exhibition of an empty gallery space with certificates for non-existing works and his publication of a magazine with one issue, documenting his Leap into the Void. The years during where he pursued the career of an artist were compressed into only 8 but Klein accomplished more in 8 years than many of his peers did in 40.