Focus: Paul Klee

Nov 22, 2006–Apr 29, 2007


Paul Klee (German, b. Switzerland. 1879–1940). Around the Fish. 1926. Oil and tempera on canvas mounted on cardboard 18 3/8 × 25 1/8″ (46.7 × 63.8 cm). Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund. © 2006 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
  • MoMA, Floor 5, Collection Galleries The Estée and Joseph H. Lauder Painting and Sculpture Gallery, Gallery 11

This installation, part of an ongoing series highlighting aspects of the Museum’s collection, focuses on the work of Paul Klee (German, born Switzerland; 1879–1940). The Museum’s commitment to Klee dates from its first exhibition of his work, in 1930, just one year after its founding. The paintings, prints, and drawings on view here, made between 1903 and 1939, celebrate the depth and breadth of the artist’s achievement and reflect the outstanding scope of the Museum’s holdings.

Klee’s oeuvre is characterized by fluid movement between genres and categories: figurative and abstract, descriptive and narrative, openly gestural and tightly geometric, austerely linear and intensely chromatic. Each phase of the artist’s career is represented here, including his early experiments with etching and aquatint, the spiritually inclined drawings proceeding from his association with the Blaue Reiter group after 1911, and the technically inventive paintings and drawings he made during his tenure at the Bauhaus between 1920 and 1931. Also featured are the boldly simplified works Klee created in Switzerland, where he lived in exile from Nazi Germany for the seven years before his death in 1940.

Organized by Lilian Tone, Assistant Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture.


  • Press release 2 pages


Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].