Lot 552: TLS in French, one page, 8.25 x 10.5, Iris Clert letterhead, April 29, 1958. An open letter to the Prefect of the Seine, in full (translated): "An unjust decision, from your authority, banned the blue illumination of the obelisk in the Place de la Concorde. This gesture is not justified since you have previously given your consent and Technical Services of the EDF had carried out the preliminary tests in my presence last Wednesday. This is for you without doubt an unimportant administrative act. But for me this event was of a very different meaning. The culmination of a series of efforts and research without rest for five years, seeking to prove the immense possibilities of color and its emotional resonance on human sensitivity. It has a place in the event calendar I am now organizing in the Galerie Iris Clert, Rive Gauche. There was no intention to disturb the public order, but the willingness to affirm before all my deepest spiritual conviction. By depriving me, through an abuse of power without cause, means to assert the power of the blue, you have dispossessed Paris a rare sight that would have contributed to the prestige of our capital. During technical tests, I had the great joy of finally capturing my vision of Blue Obelisk: I am personally satisfied. I regret this prohibition for others, all potential viewers of this unforgettable moment." In fine condition, with central vertical and horizontal folds, light creases, and trivial chipping to edges.
To accompany the opening of his exhibition Le Vide [The Void], at the Galerie Iris Clert on April 28, 1958—the day before he wrote this letter—Klein had painstakingly organized for the obelisk in the Place de la Concorde to be illuminated in his now-famous color, 'International Klein Blue.' While the pedestal was to remain in darkness, the soaring obelisk would appear to hover over the city as if a magical, ancient symbol. Despite the successful tests and prior approval, the prefect of police withdrew permission at the last moment, infuriating the passionate artist, who considered his project to be a gift to the city, "a rare sight that would have contributed to the prestige of our capital." The project was eventually realized posthumously in 1983. This is a truly amazing piece concerning one of Klein's dearest projects and represents an important moment in the history of modern art.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 453
Sunday, 17th May 2015
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