He studied drawing and painting at Boston University (1931--35), and drafting and illustration at the Heatherley School of Fine Art, London (1937--38). After returning to the United States, he settled in New York, where he made traditional cityscapes and interior scenes and, in the early 1940s, won awards in several National Academy of Design Annuals.
Kline soon began experimenting with little black-and-white brush drawings after Willem de Kooning introduced him to abstraction. At the end of the decade, De Kooning's usage of a Bell-Opticon projector motivated Kline to project his brush drawings on his studio wall, transforming them into large-scale ideograms. These experiments marked the start of Kline's feature abstractions integrating powerful lines and quickly developed gestures of black paint on a white ground. Compositions like Wotan (1950--51) prompted speculation about the influence of East Asian calligraphy on Kline's clinic; he denied these claims, saying that he fully intended the pictures to evoke the recognizable or known when avoiding literal references. Kline used intense tonal contrasts, often working at night under strong light. His use of house painters' brushes generated miniature splatters and inflexions on the canvas, which improved the explosive quality of his black lines.
Like many fellow Abstract Expressionists, such as De Kooning and Mark Rothko, Kline took his job in a number of distinct directions in the late 1950s. He produced a succession of exceptionally large, horizontally oriented functions called the"wall paintings" (1959--61), the monumentality of that could be echoed in later paintings by Robert Motherwell and Clyfford Still. He also introduced harsh and strident colour, as in King Oliver (1958). He spent a month in Europe, travel mostly in Italy, in 1960. Two decades later, in the peak of his profession, Kline died of heart failure on May 13, 1962, in New York.
Franz Kline abstract artwork In the decade before his death, Kline's work was included in several international exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale (1956, 1960); Documenta, Kassel, West Germany (1959); São Paulo Biennial (1957); and Whitney Annuals and Biennials (1952, 1953, 1955, 1961).