Paul KLEE


    1932  Oil and sand mixed plaster on panel

    Klee studied painting in Munich. He had contact with The Blue Rider (Der Blaue Reiter), a circle of artists founded by Kandinsky, and with Dada and Surrealism while building his own theory of art based his view of nature and his fertile imagination. He began teaching at the Bauhaus in 1920 while grappling with his ideas and experiments in art. This painting probably dates from the period when Klee, having resigned from the Bauhaus in 1931 because he disliked the political disorder there, began teaching at the Dusseldorf Academy. The mosaic-like surface is filled with colored dots, a characteristic of his work in about 1930-32. First, he drew a line as in a one-stroke sketch, then another. The spaces generated by the several lines’ intersections are garnished with sets of colored dots, each different. The ground also includes blurred colors here and there, forms drawn with blurred lines, fine dots of color, and areas with light and dark shades of colors. All intertwined on the same dimension, they generate a painting in which all the elements reverberate. This richly complex effect is a product of Klee’s thorough knowledge of his elements—colors, points, lines, planes. It speaks of the artist ’s fundamental approach of exploring, through those elements’ playful interactions, the infinite possibilities of form. After being shown at a large-scale retrospective held at the Kunsthalle Basel in October and November, 1935, this painting went to the United States, where it joined the collection of one of Klee’s Bauhaus colleagues, Mies van der Rohe, a leading twentieth-century architect.

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