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    Sale 12146

    Impressionist & Modern Art Works on Paper Sale

    17 November 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1047

    Paul Klee (1879-1940)

    Strassenskizze aus Kairuan

    Price Realised  


    Paul Klee (1879-1940)
    Strassenskizze aus Kairuan
    signed 'Klee' (upper left); dated, numbered and titled '1914. 209. Strassenskizze aus Kairuan' (on the artist's mount)
    watercolor, pen and black ink on paper laid down on paper laid down on card
    Sheet size: 4 ½ x 6 ¼ in. (11.4 x 15.9 cm.)
    Mount size: 8 7/8 x 10 3/8 in. (22.6 x 26.6 cm.)
    Executed in 1914

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    In 1914, Klee visited Tunisia with his friends August Macke and Louis Moilliet. This trip would have a lasting influence on his artistic output long after his return to Munich and through his time at the Bauhaus. Inspired by the gently diffused light in North Africa, Klee began to remove color from pictorial description and thus was able to approach abstraction more closely. This adeptly rendered street scene, Strassenskizze aus Kairouan, demonstrates his move toward a more independent representation, with its detachment of color from form.
    On 15 to 16 April 1914, Klee, Macke and Moilliet visited the city of Kairouan. Spending this short journey in a daze, Klee sketched around town but quickly became overcome by his surroundings. In his diary, he writes, “I now abandon work. It penetrates so deeply and so gently into me, I feel it and it gives me confidence in myself without effort. Color possesses me. I don’t have to pursue it. It will possess me always, I know it. That is the meaning of this happy hour: Color and I are one. I am a painter” (The Diaries of Paul Klee, 1898-1918, Berkeley, 1964, p. 297).

    (fig. 1) The artist and August Macke (riding) in April 1914 in Tunisia.


    Galerie Neue Kunst (Hans Goltz), Munich (December 1920).
    Galerie Ernst Arnold, Dresden (by 1921).
    Sheldon Cheney, Westport.
    E.V. Thaw & Co., New York.
    Stephen Hahn Gallery, New York (acquired from the above, 1973).
    Gallery Sanjyo Gion, Kyoto (by 1988).
    Acquired by the present owner, circa 2001.


    R. Suter-Raeber, "Paul Klee, Der Durchbruch zur Farbe und zum abstrakten Bild," Paul Klee, Das Frühwerk, 1883-1922, exh. cat., Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, 1979, p. 133.
    M. Benz-Zauner, Werkanalytische Untersuchungen zu den Tunesien-Aquarellen Paul Klees, Frankfurt, 1984, p. 8.
    W. Kersten and O. Okuda, "Aufbewahren, Umarbeiten, Zerwirken, Tunesische Aquarelle, 1914-1923," Paul Klee, Im Zeichen der Teilung, exh. cat., Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, 1995, pp. 46-47.
    S. Frey, "Dokumentation über Paul Klees Reisen ans Mittelmeer," Paul Klee, Reisen in den Süden, "Reisefieber praecisiert," exh. cat., Gustav-Lübcke Museum, Hamm, 1997, p. 246.
    O. Okuda, "Paul Klee, Buchhaltung, Werkbezeichnung und Werkprozess," Radical Art History, Internationale Anthologie, Zurich, 1997, p. 378, note 13.
    The Paul Klee Foundation, ed., Paul Klee, Catalogue raisonné, 1913-1918, Bonn, 2000, vol. 2, p. 209, no. 1312 (illustrated).
    C. Otterbeck, Europa verlassen, Künstlerreisen am Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts, Ph.D. Diss., Philipps-Universität, 2004, pp. 400-401, note 53.
    M. Baumgartner, "Paul Klees Reise nach Tunesien," The Journey to Tunisia 1914, Paul Klee, August Macke, Louis Moilliet, exh. cat., Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, 2014, p. 118 (illustrated).


    Dresden, Galerie Ernst Arnold, Graphisches Kabinett, Handzeichnungen Deutscher Meister, 1921, no. 512 (illustrated).
    San Francisco Museum of Art; Portland Art Museum; Detroit Institute of Arts; The City Art Museum of St. Louis; New York, The Museum of Modern Art; Washington, D.C., Phillips Gallery and The Cincinnati Art Museum, Paintings, Drawings, and Prints by Paul Klee from the Klee Foundation, Berne, Switzerland with Additions from American Collections, March 1949-May 1950, p. 58, no. 127.
    Mahwah, New Jersey, Ramapo College Art Gallery, The Private Collector, October-December 1981 (illustrated).
    Kamakura, The Museum of Modern Art; Morioka, Iwate Museum of Art; Tsu, Mie Prefectural Art Museum and Matsumoto City Museum of Art, Paul Klee and His Travels, February-October 2002, p. 242, no. 76 (illustrated in color, p. 71).
    Saitama, The Museum of Modern Art, Travel and Art, Discovery, Wonder and Dreams, November 2015-January 2016, p. 170, no. 197 (illustrated in color).