It’s almost like an obsession, this intense blue colour. You see nothing else and you don’t want to see anything else. It prevails and it predominates you. More correctly perhaps, it dominates me. Every time I see it a mysterious force draws me to the work L’accord bleu (RE 10), from 1960. This ‘blue agreement’ is of the French Nouveau Réalisme artist Yves Klein. A bright colour on a large canvas. L’accord bleu (RE 10) is particularly great for a monochrome painting with relief. The effect of this monochrome colour is enhanced by the dimensions of the canvas. It is a bit overwhelming. The sponges on the canvas, drenched in paint, look like stones. The work, which in addition to sponges also consists of pebbles, reminds us of a blue version of the moon. The structure of the canvas has much in common with the lunar landscape. So coarse and uneven, unearthly. No one has ever produced such a colour like Klein did with his IKB, International Klein Blue. This IKB blue is very dark and made from the pigment ultramarine. L’accord bleu (RE 10) is just one example in a series of IKB paintings, reliefs and plain monochromes, that the artist realised during his brief career.
Several years ago I saw a retrospective of Klein in Paris at the Centre Pompidou. Until that show, I was not very familiar with his practice. When entering the first room his work captivated me instantly. I had never seen so much blue in one place. This was my first introduction to Klein and his blue. Each time, each new confrontation with the famous intense blue, it is intriguing, absorbing. He succeeded and still does succeed to impress me, to captivate me, to move me, whether it is his ‘anthropométries’, ‘monochromes’ or his ‘reliefs éponges’. I almost feel privileged by the fact that L’accord bleu (RE 10) is often on display at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam allowing me to admire this piece as often as I can. Vive le bleu!