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About this work

Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.

Paul Klee creates a retreat from the misery of World War I with his etching Luftschlößchen (Little castle in the air). As he noted in his diary in 1915, the year he made this print, and before he had been called up as a soldier, "I have long had this war inside me. That is why inwardly it means nothing to me. And to work my way out of my ruins, I had to fly. And I flew. I remain in this ruined world only in memory, as one occasionally does in retrospect."

The etching makes reference to a number of Klee's memories and interests: the trip to Tunisia he took in spring 1914, crystalline forms, Gothic architecture, the work of French painter Robert Delaunay. The clarity of form he admired in architecture influenced his compositions at this time; he transformed planes and rhythms he saw in the real world to create an imaginary one.

Paul Klee (German, born Switzerland. 1879–1940)

Little Castle in the Air (Luftschlösschen)

Date:
1915
Medium:
Etching
Dimensions:
plate: 3 1/2 x 8 5/16" (8.9 x 21.1 cm); sheet: 9 7/16 x 12 3/4" (24 x 32.4 cm)
Paper:
Cream, smooth, wove (van Gelder Zonen).
Publisher:
The artist, Munich
Printer:
Heinrich Wetteroth, Munich
Edition:
approx. 30; plus 4 known proofs and 2 known trial proofs
Credit Line:
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund
Copyright:
© 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Reference:
Kornfeld 65 b. Soby 15. Klee 1547.
MoMA Number:
183.1942
Themes:
Fantasy
Techniques:
Intaglio

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