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
  • Floor 5, Collection Galleries, 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.

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