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Details
Paul Klee (1879-1940)
Zwillinge (Twins)
signed 'Klee' (upper left)
oil on canvas
23 7/8 x 19 7/8 in. (60.6 x 50.4 cm.)
Painted in 1930
Provenance
Otto Ralfs, Braunschweig (acquired from the artist, 1930).
Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Paris (by 1938).
Karl Nierendorf, New York (acquired from the above, 1938).
Buchholz Gallery (Curt Valentin), New York.
Mr. and Mrs. Henry T. Kneeland, Bloomfield, Connecticut (by 1957).
Galerie d'Art Moderne, Basel.
Anon. sale, Galerie Motte, Geneva, 7 June 1974, lot 148
William Beadleston Gallery, New York (acquired in 1973).
Acquired from the above by the previous owner.
Literature
Oeuvrekatalog Klee, 1930, no. 128.
W. Grohman, Paul Klee, London, 1954, pp. 282 and 417, no. 126 (illustrated, p. 400).
J. Spiller. Das bildnerische Denken. Form und Gestaltungslehre, Basel, 1956, p. 118 (illustrated).
G. Di San Lazzaro, Klee, la vie et l'oeuvre, Munich, 1958, p. 270, no. 83 (illustrated).
G. Spieler, Paul Klee, New York, 1962, p. 36 (illustrated in color).
M. Huggler, Paul Klee, Die Malerei als Blick in den Kosmos, Stuttgart, 1969, p. 139.
C. Hopfengart, Klee. Vom Sonderfall zum Publikumsliebling. Stationen seiner öffentliche Resonanz in Deutschland 1905-1960, Mainz, 1989, p. 211.
Exhibited
Bern, Kunsthalle, Paul Klee, February-March 1935, no. 52 (illustrated).
Basel, Kunsthalle, Paul Klee, October-November 1935, no. 43 (illustrated).
Lucerne, Kunstmuseum, Paul Klee, Fritz Huf, April-June 1936, no. 100.
New York, Buchholz Gallery (Curt Valentin) and Willard Gallery, Paul Klee, October-November 1940, no. 68.
Northampton, Smith College; Chicago, The Arts Club; The Portland Art Museum; Los Angeles, Stendahl Galleries; St. Louis, City Art Museum; Wellesley College Art Gallery; and New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Paul Klee, Memorial Exhibition, January-September 1941, no. 70.
Bern, Kunstmuseum, Paul Klee. Austellung in Verbindung mit der Paul-Klee-Stiftung, August-November 1956, p. 95, no. 596.
Hamburg, Kunsthalle, Paul Klee, December 1956-January 1957, no. 259.
Hartford, Wadsworth Atheneum, Connecticut Collects, October-November 1957, p. 7, no. 27 (illustrated, pl. VI).
New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Basel, Kunsthalle (no. 115), Paul Klee, 1879-1940: A Retrospective Exhibition, February-July 1967, p. 86, no. 110 (illustrated).
New York, M. Knoedler & Co., Space and Dreams, 1970, p. 56 (illustrated).
Basel, Galerie d'Art Moderne, 1974.

Lot Essay

In early 1930, Klee executed a number of compositions based on precise three-dimensional studies consisting of interlocking superimposed planes of color and crosshatching. Some of these works are purely mathematical and geometric in their layout, others have a more biomorphic feel and are imbued with a lyrical, almost humorous character. One such image is Zwillinge.

Discussing the way in which the artist introduced the human element into this and similar works from 1930, Grohmann observed:

...the structural pattern is primary; the construction results in a three-dimensional body in space; the system of struts, the transparency and perforation render these bodies mobile and changeable, while the absence of a fixed reference point transmutes the whole system into a hovering constellation.

Although Twins [the present work] is constructed like Sailing City, its metamorphic features [eyes and nose] have forced a modification of the intersecting quadrangles, a rounding of the corners, and a curving of the contours. Entire human figures may emerge from the schematic pattern as in Brothers and Sisters and Loaded Children [1930]. While the interplay of space and associative elements may be modified in various ways, it never produces volume--not even through added limbs or shaded edges. Any discrepancy between the structural system and the associative elements only serves to make the relationship of the two more expressive. In Family Outing [1930] [and similar works of that year such as Zwillinge], the precise unadorned geometry of the shapes appears to contradict their human significance to such a degree that the effect of the whole is comic--comedy based on form. (W. Grhman, op. cit.,, p. 282)
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