Museum acquires Kline painting

For Immediate Release
October 2, 2012
Media Contact:
Chris Potash
(610) 432-4333 ext. 125
cpotash [at] allentownartmuseum [dot] org



Allentown, Pa.—The Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley is pleased to announce the acquisition of a work by Franz Kline on the eve of its new exhibition devoted to the world-renowned painter. Lower East Side Market Scene, circa 1938, was purchased by a representative of the Museum at Christie’s auction house in New York on September 25, 2012 (Lot 96). “This painting, by one of America’s great masters of the twentieth century, is a welcome addition to our special exhibition Franz Kline: Coal and Steel,” said the Museum’s chief curator, Diane P. Fischer. “After the exhibition closes in January, it will have a prominent place in our permanent collection galleries.”

Franz Kline: Coal and Steel opens in the Museum’s Scheller Gallery on October 7 and continues through January 13, 2013. The exhibit explores Kline’s roots in the Pennsylvania coal region, just north of the Museum, drawing connections between the mining-scarred landscape of his youth and his bold late-career black-and-white canvases.

Created soon after Kline moved to New York City, Lower East Side Market Scene (oil on canvas, 24 x 28 inches) depicts an open-air market that embodies the artist’s fascination with his Greenwich Village environment. Painted in broad brushstrokes and vital colors, Kline captures the character of the older buildings and the variety of working people shopping for their weekly groceries. Robert S. Mattison, guest curator of Franz Kline: Coal and Steel, notes that the painting reveals an awareness of the tradition of American urban scenes by such artists as George Bellows, George Luks, and John Sloan. “The irregular geometry of the painting foretells the structure of Kline’s later abstract art,” comments Mattison.

Franz Kline (1910–1962), Lower East Side Market Scene, 1938, oil on canvas, 24 x 28 inches. Allentown Art Museum. © 2012 The Franz Kline Estate / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York



Founded in 1934 by the teacher, painter, and critic Walter Emerson Baum (1884–1956), the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley has become the premier visual arts institution in the region, serving as an important cultural destination as well as a vital element in the economic revitalization of downtown Allentown and the surrounding area. The Museum’s newly renovated and expanded 48,900 sq. ft. facility showcases a growing collection of more than seventeen thousand works of art of international importance, allowing visitors to experience a broad spectrum of art representing diverse media, materials, and techniques from an equally diverse range of countries and cultures. In 1974 the Museum received prestigious accreditation from the American Association of Museums and today remains one of just 299 art museums of the 15,000 museums nationwide accorded this status