Yves Klein

La victoire de Samothrace


Dry pigment and synthetic resin on plaster cast with metal and stone base, 49.5 x 26 x 29.8 cm

Yves Klein (b. 1928, Nice, - d. 1962, Paris) attended the École nationale de la marine marchande and the École nationale des langues orientales vivantes. He went on to co-found the Nouveaux Réalistes group along with art critic Pierre Restany. His impact on the contemporary art world was significant, making great strides in the field of colour theory, even trademarking his own shade of International Klein Blue (IKB).

Inspired by the iconography of Nike, the ancient Greek goddess of Victory, Klein creates an image of ancient symbolism with the reproduction of The Winged Victory of Samothrace found in the Louvre gift shop. His trademark colour, International Klein Blue (IKB) covers the goddess and repurposes the commodified ancient into a modern artistic context. Klein makes the commercial worthy of display as high art in one of the artist’s final creations, “claiming - and pre-empting - his own iconic status within the art-historical narrative.”

"Blue has no dimensions, it is beyond dimensions, whereas the
other colours are not ... All colours arouse specific associative ideas, psychologically material or tangible, while blue suggests at most the sea and sky, and they, after all, are in actual, visible nature what is most abstract."