Paul Klee. Fire in the Evening. 1929

Paul Klee

Fire in the Evening


Oil on cardboard
13 3/8 x 13 1/4" (33.8 x 33.3 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. Joachim Jean Aberbach Fund
Object number
© 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Painting and Sculpture
This work is on view on Floor 5, in Painting and Sculpture I, Gallery 7, with 29 other works online.
Paul Klee has 144 works online.
There are 2,244 paintings online.

A red opaque rectangle stands out among bands of muted browns, greens, violets, and blues, which dynamically interact to suggest built structures or geographic formations. Klee's trip to Egypt in the winter of 1928–29 inspired a number of striated compositions, a response in part to the stratified cliffs of the Nile Valley and the long strips of tilled fields he saw there. These works "moved far from Nature," he said, "and found their way back to reality." While the work is apparently abstract, the variation within the simple formal palette of line and color constructs depth and space and even evokes a fire aflame in a desert at day's end.

Gallery label from 2006

Provenance Research Project
This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
Acquired from the artist by Hermann Rupf (1880-1962) and Margrit Rupf, Bern [1]; acquired by Georg Schmidt (1896-1965), Basel-Binningen, Switzerland, by 1950 [2]; by inheritance to his daughter, Anita Moppert-Schmidt, Basel-Binningen, Switzerland, 1965 [3]; [Frank Perls Gallery, Los Angeles, 1968] [4]; sold through Kornfeld & Klipstein, Bern to Galerie Beyeler, Basel, June, 1968 [5]; acquired by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1970.
[1] Paul-Klee-Stiftung, Kunstmuseum Bern, eds. Paul Klee: catalogue raisonné. Bern: Benteli and New York: Thames and Hudson, vol. 5 (2001), no. 4851. Date of acquisition unknown.
[2] Ibid. Included in the exhibition Paul Klee, 1879-1940: Austellung aus Schweizer Privat-Sammlungen, Basel Kunstmuseum, 1950 (no. 33: "Privatbesitz Basel").
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid. Ownership could not be verified.
[5] Ibid. Moderne Kunst des neunzehnten und zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts, Kornfeld & Klipstein, Bern, June 13-June 15, 1968 (no. 479: Feuer abends).

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