Raumarchitecturen (Auf Kalt-Warm) (Space Architectures (In Cold-Warm)) is a complex and integrated semi-abstract watercolour-landscape from 1915 that reflects Klee's absorption of important avant-garde influences, and marks the full maturation in his art that took place in the aftermath of his journey to Tunisia in 1914.
Executed during the second year of the Great War, Raumarchitecturen (Auf Kalt-Warm) is a work that, despite the dramatic progress in Klee's art during this period, was painted against an atmosphere of increasing gloom. The painting's crystalline break-up of form into a series of playful 'magic squares' of 'joyful colour' were, for Klee, elements that reflected a desire to escape from the trauma of the times. As he confided to his diary at this time, 'One deserts the realm of the here and now to transfer one's activity into a realm of the yonder where total affirmation is possible. Abstraction. The cool Romanticism of this style without pathos is unheard of. The more horrible this world (as today, for instance), the more abstract our art, whereas a happy world brings forth an art of the here and now. Today is a transition from yesterday. In the great pit of forms lie broken fragments to some of which we still cling. They provide abstraction with its material' (Paul Klee, Diary Entry no. 951, 1915, F. Klee, ed., The Diaries of Paul Klee, London, 1964, p. 313 ).
Entitled Raumarchitecturen (Space Architectures) because of its Cubistic abstraction of the architectural forms of a medieval town, the painting is a work that illustrates how Klee fused the constructive principles of Cubism with the colour theory of Delaunay, to create a new, simple but articulate language representing Nature in abstract terms but without completely departing from the world of objective reality. One of a small group of works so titled from this year, here the colour harmonies of Delaunay's Orphist circles have been translated into the toy-town simplicity and compactness of the architectural geometry to create a Cubist mosaic of coloured form that shimmers with light and gaiety. This joyous quality is conveyed purely through Klee's remarkable sensitivity to colour and light and reflects the astonishing developments he had made working alongside August Macke in Tunisia - where both artists had experimented with precisely the same break-up of form using a similar combination of Cubist and colourist principles.
As a harmonious tapestry of abstract form and colour Raumarchitecturen (Auf Kalt-Warm) can also be seen to correspond to the similar principles of tonal harmony and composition that characterized Klee's beloved Baroque music. Exploring the relationship between art and music, Klee often attempted to create pictorial 'fugues' and famously expressed his desire to be able to 'improvise freely on the keyboard of rows of watercolour cups' (Klee, Diary Entry no. 873, in ibid., p. 244).