Paul Klee (1879-1940)
Five Important Works by Klee from a Distinguished Private Collector The following five lots by Paul Klee from an important private collection represent a synopsis of the artist's oeuvre covering the critical period from 1918 to 1937. The free compositional use of landscape and buildings to which are added mystical metaphors seen in both Tempel zum halben Mond and Gartenhäuser embodies the best of his work from the 'teens. As Klee explained, "We must work our way back to unity. This can be done in the pictorial field by bringing disparate things together harmoniously... This introduces freedom into movement and movement into freedom" (ed. J. Spiller, Paul Klee, The Thinking Eye, London, 1962, p. 153). In spite of the complexity of the elements of this drawing, the solitude of the moon, a motif that runs through his entire oeuvre, appeals to a certain romantic longing for the infinite. Between 1926 and 1932 Klee taught and painted in the creative atmosphere of the Bauhaus in Dessau. During this period Klee developed a heightened compositional structure in his work, and Anfunft des Lufdrachen demonstrates this awareness of the disciplines propounded by the Bauhaus. Will Grohmann writes that "... there appeared a large number of new effects that can be felt well into the Bern period. His work gained in range and intensity, and its favorable reception with the public encouraged him to ever greater boldness and directness of pictorial statement. Klee was now one of the few artists in a position to decide the future course of art (W. Grohmann, Paul Klee, New York, 1954, p. 251). The mystical shapes that represent kites or flying objects in this work are the basis of the more abstract forms that would express flight and movement displayed in his masterwork of 1932 Auftrieb und Weg (Segelflug). In Dessau, Klee would once again return to the architectural images of the late teens. Bescheidene Heimat is one of several works from the late twenties that display a new technique of creating a purposely thick and uneven gesso surface into which he sets the drawing. Grohmann writes, "Even in these magical pictures Klee proceeds methodically. Like a musician he sets note, develops, particularizes, deepens, visualizes independently of our outer reality, until the final form emerges... A pictorial order results which is the analogue of nature" (ibid., p. 215). Klee's return to Switzerland in 1933 had been a difficult move, having been classified as a "degenerate artist" by the National Socialists, forcing him to resign his post as professor of the Dusseldorf Academy. It is generally accepted that his "late style" began in 1937, the year that Kleiner Seehafen was painted. This period was characterized by the radical simplification and enlargement of the graphic signs that were to form the basis of his compositions in the future. As Jürgen Glaesemer pointed out, "In Klee's late work one final stage occurs in the relationship between form and color. It mattered less for him than it once had to give refinement to the specific expressive value of line, tone and color. His shapes and colors became simpler... The powerful constructions of heavy black or colored lines and the glowing areas of colors reduced to a few tones are the expressions of a pictoral language striving to make a direct statement. Klee no longer hesitated to brush his figures and signs free-hand on the surface of his panel paintings; despite their large size, these paintings often give the effect of loosely composed drawings to which color has been added to intensify their expression. Klee's new desire for immediacy probably also explains why he preferred such absorbent materials as burlap or newspaper mounted on stretched jute as supports for these late panel paintings..." (J. Glaesemer, Paul Klee, the Colored Works in Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern, 1979, pp. 308-309).
Paul Klee (1879-1940)

Tempel zum halben Mond

Paul Klee (1879-1940)
Tempel zum halben Mond
signed 'Klee' (lower right); dated and numbered '1918 183' (on the artist's mount)
ink on paper laid down by the artist on board
Sheet size: 11½ x 8 5/8 in. (29.2 x 21.9 cm.)
Mount size: 12½ x 9 7/8 in. (31.9 x 25.1 cm.)
Drawn in 1918
Estate of the artist.
Lily Klee, Bern (1940-1946).
Klee-Gesellschaft, Bern (1946-1950).
Galerie Rosengart, Lucerne (1950).
John Rewald, New York (by 1950).
Galerie Boisseré, Cologne.
Fischer Fine Art, Ltd., London.
Galerie Jan Krugier, Ditesheim & Cie., Geneva (by 1983). Anon. sale, Sotheby's, London, 3 December 1980, lot 144.
Acquired at the above sale by the father of the present owner.
W. Kersten, Paul Klee, Marburg, 1987, p. 56.
The Paul Klee Foundation, ed., Paul Klee, catalogue raisonné, Bern, 2000, vol. 2, p. 518, no. 2030 (illustrated).
Barcelona, Fundación Joan Miró; Vienna, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig; and Budapest, Szépmüvészeti Müzeum, Drei Annäherungen an die Landschaft: Klee, Tanguy, Miró, November 1999-July 2000, p. 165, no. 2 (illustrated in color, p. 24).

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