Artist Spotlight Series: Karl Klingbiel

The latest artist in my Artist Spotlight Series is sure to delight with his vibrant and dynamic abstract works. 

Karl Klingbiel

Brooklyn, New York

 DSC02734 2

What is your training?

 I received a BA in art from Yale, and also had the privilege of attending high school at Cranbrook; the vision of Eero and Eliel Saarinen that formed the school had an enormous influence on me.


What inspires you and your designs?

My work is inspired by a very broad range of things, but the work I look at most is all pre-modern: Renaissance painting, Tibetan thanka painting, maps, technical illustrations, Flemish tapestry, and so on and on.

 Thangka_Depicting_Vajrabhairava, _ca._1740, _Sotheby's

What is your favorite piece?

It is hard to say; each painting represents different meanings to me, but I would have to say “Chinese Toys” is a particular favorite.

 Chinese Toys  (2014)

How has the your area influenced your work?

I am interested in the things we cannot see except for small glimpses—the things underneath things–glimpses that, taken together, gesture toward a corpus of meaning, a Structuralist connectivity. New York is a multivalent city, both figuratively and symbolically. It functions from deep beneath the ground to the floors in the highest buildings. It also functions as a matrix of innumerable cultures and visual signs.


What is your favorite restaurant in Brooklyn?

Sweetwater, in Williamsburg Brooklyn.


What is your favorite cocktail?

My favorite cocktail is Goslings dark rum and tonic, with a lime twist.


How do you balance personal life and work?

It is easy to balance, at least I find it so. My work defines my life, to a great extent.


Dream trip?

Angkor Wat.


Dream commission?

My dream commission would be to create a series of large woodblock prints for an installation in a museum of antiquities, along the lines of the program run by the Glyptothek und Antikensammlung in Munich, pairing contemporary art with the objects in its collection.


Your favorite host / hostess gift to give?

Good chocolate. Everyone loves it.


 Who is your style icon?

Miles Davis in the ‘50s. No one can wear a suit like he could.

Miles Davis 

Your favorite up and coming artist?

It’s a tough one. Giotto, probably. (Here and gone more than up and coming!) Caravaggio, too. Contemporary painters that mean a lot to me include Gary Stephan,


Brice Marden,


and Mary Heilmann.


What is your most treasured possession?

My most treasured possession is a large engraving of The Rest on the Fight From Egypt by Luc-Olivier Merson, the 19th Century painter who also designed the French paper money that obtained until the Euro came along. I found it in the Paris flea market, back when the flea was good and you could still find treasures there.


What are you reading?

Right now I’m reading Roland Barthes’ The Eiffel Tower and Other Mythologies;


the terrific critic Dave Hickey’s Pirates and Farmers;


and the collected prose of the poet Elizabeth Bishop.


What are you listening to?

I listen to everything. My touchstones, however, are John Coltrane (especially the late, live recordings) and Beethoven’s piano sonatas. And when nothing else will do, the blues.


What are your favorite blogs / publications?

The only two publications I read regularly are The New York Review of Books and The World of Interiors



Enjoy just a few of my favorite works by Karl Klingbiel












All of these paintings are via Karl’s WEBSITE. Peruse more of his work there.

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  • April 30, 2015


    So interesting that one of his favorite books is The World of Interiors…that came as quite a suprise!

  • June 30, 2015

    Great paintings really inspiring.

  • January 10, 2019


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