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.

Installation views

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).

If you would like to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA, please contact Scala Archives (all geographic locations) at

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or, please email If you would like to publish text from MoMA's archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to

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