Paul Klee (1879-1940)
This lot is exempt from Sales Tax. Property from the John Brady Foundation*
Paul Klee (1879-1940)

Cultivierter Berg

Paul Klee (1879-1940)
Cultivierter Berg
signed 'Klee' (upper right), dated, numbered and titled '1931. R.6. Cultivierter Berg' (on the mount)
pen and ink on paper laid down by the artist on board
Image size: 8¼ x 13 1/8 in. (21 x 33.2 cm).
Mount size: 10 7/8 x 13½ in. (27.6 x 34.2 cm.)
Drawn in 1931
Lily Klee, Bern (by 1940).
FAR Gallery, New York.
R. Carlin Paila.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
The Paul Klee Foundation, ed., Paul Klee, Catalogue raisonné, Bern, 2002, vol. 6, p. 113, no. 5551 (illustrated).
Zurich, Graphische Sammlung, Gedächtnisausstellung Paul Klee, October-December 1940, no. 102.
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Lot Essay

Klee employed a tesserae-like technique in various paintings of 1925, having seen the 12th century mosaics in the Romanesque churches and palaces of the Norman kings of Sicily when he visited Palermo the previous summer. He returned to Sicily in 1931, and revived this approach in many of his compositions of 1931-1933, which the artist's son Felix Klee described as having been done in a "pointillistic, loose mosaic style" (in his commentary to Paul Klee Briefe an die Familie, II, p.1153). The artist was also influenced by the Neo-Impressionist paintings of Georges Seurat, whose reputation was in the ascendant during the years following the First World War, as critics elevated him to a position vis-à-vis the avant-garde that had been previously held by Cézanne.

Klee employed this pointillistic technique in Cultivierter Berg ("Cultivated Mountain"), in which the constructive and accumulative effect of his dot- and dash-making becomes a pictorial metaphor for the processes of growth and cultivation. This image perhaps presages the finest of Klee's mosaic paintings, the well-known Gradus Ad Parnassum (Paul Klee Foundation, ed., no. 5970; coll. Kunstmuseum, Bern), which the artist painted later that year.

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