Paul Klee (1879-1940)
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Paul Klee (1879-1940)

Perspektive Figuration

Paul Klee (1879-1940)
Perspektive Figuration
signed, dated and inscribed 'Klee 1925 d 2' (lower left)
oil on paper laid down on cardboard on a wooden stretcher in the artist's original frame
12¼ x 9 7/8 in. (31 x 25.1 cm.)
Painted in 1925
Lily Klee, Bern, 1940-1946.
Klee-Gesellschaft, Bern, 1946-1948.
Werner M. Moser, by whom acquired in 1948, and thence by descent to the present owner.
P. Klee, Taschenkalender 1929, Letters, vol. II, p. 1087.
J. Spiller, Paul Klee. Das bildnerische Denken. Form-und Gestaltungslehre, vol. I, Basel/Stuttgart, 1956, p. 159.
S. Frey & W. Kersten, 'Paul Klees geschäftliche Verbindung zur Galerie Alfred Flechtheim', in exh. cat Alfred Flechtheim. Sammler, Kunsthändler, Verleger, Dusseldorf, 1987, p. 87.
O. Okuda, '"Wiederantritt auf altgewohntem Boden". Die Paul-Klee-Ausstellung in der Kunsthalle Bern im Jahr 1935', in Paul Klee. Die Sammlung Bürgi, exh. cat., Bern, 2000, p. 226, note 4.
The Paul Klee Foundation, ed., Paul Klee, Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 4, 1923-1926, Bern, 2000, no. 3813, p. 354 (illustrated).
Zurich, Kunsthaus, Ausstellung Paul Klee, Paul Altherr, R. Th. Bosshard, Emil Bresseler, Willy F. Burger, Max Burgmeier, Eugen Maurer, August Speck, April - May 1926, no. 43.
Wiesbaden, Neues Museum, August-Ausstellung 1926, August 1926, no. 41.
Dresden, Galerie Ernst Arnold, Sonderausstellung von 100 Gemälden und Aquarellen von Paul Klee aus den Jahren 1908-1926, November 1926. Mannheim, Städtische Kunsthalle, Wege und Richtungen der abstrakten Malerei in Europa, January - March 1927, no. 139.
Dusseldorf, Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Landschaften aus Cagnes und Stilleben von Auguste Renoir, Paul Klee, Ölgemälde und Aquarelle, April 1927, no. 16.
Berlin, Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Das Problem der Generation. Die um 1880 geborenen Meister von heute. 1. Teil: Die Deutschen, June - August 1927, no. 70a.
Brussels, Galerie Le Centaure, Paul Klee, R. Sintenis, December 1928, no. 11.
Paris, Galerie Georges Bernheim, Paul Klee, February 1929, no. 11.
Berlin, Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Paul Klee, October - November 1929, no. 62.
New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Paul Klee, March - April 1930, no. 8.
Dusseldorf, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen in Verbindung mit der Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Paul Klee, June - July 1931, no. 25.
London, The Mayor Gallery, Paul Klee, January - February 1934, no. 21.
Bern, Kunsthalle, Paul Klee, January - February 1935, no. 23.
Basel, Kunsthalle, Paul Klee, October - November 1935, no. 17.
Lucerne, Kunstmuseum, Paul Klee, Fritz Huf, April - June 1936, no. 36.
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Adrienne Everwijn-Dumas
Adrienne Everwijn-Dumas

Lot Essay

'Does a pictorial work come into being at one stroke? No, it is constructed bit by bit, just like a house...out of abstract elements a formal cosmos is ultimately created independent of their groupings as concrete objects or abstract things such as numbers or letters, which we discover to be so closely similar to the Creation that a breath is sufficient to turn an expression of religious feelings, or religion, into reality' (Paul Klee Creative Credo, 1920, reproduced The Inward Vision: Watercolours, Drawings and Writings by Paul Klee, New York, 1959, pp. 5-10).

Using solely a simple geometric pattern of coloured rectangles over which Klee has incised in white paint a series of perspectival lines centred on the middle of the painting, Perspektive Figuration is a work that articulates a playful landscape-like tapestry of colour and form sparkling with an innate and surprising sense of life. The magical pictorial realm that Klee describes is one where the coloured rectangles of the background seem to become a carpet of fields, and the white lines crossing them appear simultaneously as building structures, house roofs, trees, stars and even, as the title of the picture suggests, figures.

Painted in 1925 during the height of his formal experimentation at the Bauhaus, Perspektive Figuration is deliberately playful in its restrained and simple use of a sequence of geometric and perspectival pictorial conventions to generate a charming vision of a secret pictorial cosmos. It is reflective of Klee's wider creative vision. This was his semi-mystical view that an entire world of creative potential lay dormant within the materials, practices and techniques of picture making. It was a magical realm that was capable of being revealed or 'made visible', only through the intuitive unconscious and discerning intervention of the artist following his creative calling.

'Chosen are those artists who penetrate to the region of that secret place where primeval power nurtures all evolution.' Klee wrote on this subject in 1924. 'There, where the power-house of all time and space - call it brain or heart of creation - activates every function: who is the artist who would not dwell there? In the womb of nature, at the source of creation, where the secret key to all lies guarded' (Paul Klee, On Modern Art, 1924, pp. 49).

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