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Kline artwork nets $2.9 m

Published November 16. 2013 09:28AM

Once again a piece of artwork by abstract artist Franz Kline sold for several million dollars.

Kline is a 1931 graduate of Lehighton High School and is regarded as one of the leading abstract artists in the world.

On Thursday, one of his black and white paintings which was untitled was sold by Sotheby's Auction House for $2,965,000.

It was the property of a private collector. The buyer wasn't identified.

The piece of art was signed by Kline and dated 1957 on the reverse side. Kline died in 1962.

It was oil on canvas and had been exhibited at the Allan Stone Gallery in New York.

The highlight of the sale was an Andy Warhol piece of art entitled "Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)" which sold for $105,445,000.

It's not the first time Kline's artwork has fetched bids at auctions in the millions of dollars.

In 2005, a black and white abstract painting entitled "Crow Dancer" netted a top bid of $6.4 million.

A painting called "Ninth Street," which was named after Ninth Street in Lehighton where Kline's family had resided, sold for $4.5 million on Nov. 12, 2002.

The piece sold at Sotheby's this week entitled "Untitled" was done at the heart of Kline's most revered period.

It typifies Kline's style of thick, broad brushstrokes.

Initially, in the 1940s, Kline's style was more realistic. In the 1950s, he concentrated more on abstract.

In 1950, Kline was given his first solo show by Charles Egan at the Egan Gallery in New York City at which 11 black and white paintings were exhibited. The show was deemed a huge success.

Until his death in 1962 at the age of 51, Kline advanced his principally monochromatic genre of Abstract Expressionism.

Kline was born in Wilkes-Barre but lived in Lehighton with his family for six years.

At Lehighton High, he won letters in football, basketball, and baseball.

A speedy fullback and an excellent punter who had a better than 55-yard average, Kline received four football scholarship offers but declined them and enrolled in Boston University to study art.

In 1943, he won a $300 prize and the Wallace J. Truman Award for landscape painting by an artist unknown under age 35. The painting was entitled "Palmerton, Pa."

Locally, the most famous Kline drawing exists behind the bar of the Lehighton American Legion Post. It is a large mural of Lehighton, painted in 1946.

In 1998, one of Kline's paintings, entitled "Mahoning," was showcased on a 32-cent postage stamp. It was one of 20 paintings selected by the Postal Service for its classic collection series, "Four Centuries of American Art."

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