William Klein

Photo credit © Jean-Claude FRAICHER

Birthdate: 19 April, 1928 (New York, USA)

Education: As a young man, William Klein studied sociology at the City College of New York before doing his military service. Moving to Paris at the end of the 1940s, he studied at the Sorbonne, and practiced painting in the ateliers of André Lhote and Fernand Léger. He first discovered photography after winning a Rollei Flex in an army poker game. He then went on to experiment extensively with light and abstraction in the darkroom. In 1954 at the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, he met Alexander Liberman, then Artistic Director of Vogue, who proposed a collaboration that would continue for more than ten years.

Aesthetic: The art of William Klein is an ode to visual frenzy. Embracing every category, he is at once a street photography pioneer, a fashion photography revolutionary, a filmmaker and an accomplished conceptual artist.

Sources of inspiration: Fernand Léger’s abstract paintings, exuberant Italian director Federico Fellini’s lms, and the cities of the world.

Currently (2018): William + Klein retrospective at the Polka Galerie Paris; Photographisme. Klein, Ifert, Zamecznik group show at the Pompidou Centre Paris; New Planet Photo City group show at 21_21 Design Sight (Tokyo). 

Discover the Wombat box No. 33 made with and by William Klein.

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To see the world differently