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


Paul Klee (1879-1940) Teppich signed 'Klee' (upper right) and inscribed '1917, 70' (on the Artist's mount) pastel on Japan paper 10.5/8 x 4in. (27 x 10cm.) Executed in 1917
Anon. sale, Christie's London, 28 June 1988, lot 373.

Lot Essay

This work is recorded in the Paul Klee-Stiftung, Berne, and will be included in the forthcoming Volume II of the catalogue raisonn of his works.

In 1914 Klee embarked on a voyage to Tunisia, together with his Artist friends August Macke and Louis Moillet, and this proved to be a experience that would leave its mark on Klee's work for the rest of his career. As Klee pointed out in his diary entry when in Kairouan: "Die Farbe hat mich. Ich brauche nicht nach ihr zu haschen. Sie hat mich fr immer, ich wei das. Das ist der glcklichen Stunde Sinn: ich und die Farbe sind eins. Ich bin Maler." (E. Gse, Die Tunisreise. Klee, Macke, Moillet, Stuttgart, 1982, p. 61).
The Orient had held a fascination for Western artists since the beginnings of the 19th century, and with the onset of Modernism, artists increasingly searched for examples of geometric and abstracted shapes to integrate into their own pictorial vocabulary. The Islamic tradition of ornamentation and calligraphy, and its expression in paintings and textiles thus proved a rich source for young Artists in search for a new visual vocabulary for Western Modernism.
The present work, though no longer based on primary observation of an Oriental carpet, nonetheless takes the jagged lines and earthy colours from his own experience of Tunisia.


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