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

Rasender Krieger II

Paul Klee (1879-1940)
Rasender Krieger II
signed 'Klee' (upper left), dated, numbered and titled '1929 D. 10. rasender Krieger (zweites Blatt)' (on the artist's mount)
pen and black ink on paper mounted at the edges by the artist on board
Sheet size: 11¾ x 17¾ in. (29.9 x 45.1 cm.)
Mount size: 19 3/8 x 24½ in. (49.7 x 62 cm.)
Drawn in 1929
Private Collection, Bern.
Galerie Rosengart, Lucerne (acquired from the above, 1954).
World House Galleries, New York (acquired from the above, 1959).
Serge Sabarsky, Inc., New York (acquired from the above, 1973).
Galerie d'Art Moderne, Basel.
Galerie Arta, Geneva.
Galerie Tamenaga, Tokyo.
Galerie Nakamiya, Osaka.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
W. Grohmann, Paul Klee. Handzeichnungen 1921-1930, Potsdam/Berlin, 1934, no. 73.
J. Glaesemer, Paul Klee. Handzeichnungen II. 1921-1936, Bern, 1984, p. 160 (illustrated).
W. Kersten, Paul Klee, Übermut: Allegorie der künstlerischen Existenz, Frankfurt, 1990, p. 69.
The Paul Klee Foundation, ed., Paul Klee, Catalogue raisonné, Bern, 2001, vol. 5, p. 339, no. 4896 (illustrated).
New York, World House Galleries, Paul Klee: Watercolors, Drawings May-June 1962, no. 6.
Sale room notice
Please note the correct last two lines of provenance are as follows:
Galerie Tamenaga, Tokyo.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.

Lot Essay

The late 1920s, during the period that Klee was teaching at the Bauhaus in Dessau, are remarkable for the extraordinary diversity of Klee's subject matter and stylistic explorations, especially in his drawings. Will Grohmann has observed, "in the Dessau period Klee made an astonishing number of experimental drawings, not all of which contributed to his development as a painter. Some of the series produced at that time give the effect of cycles of poems in which Klee, like a lyrical poet, sums up a phase of his experience as man and artist. The rhythmic element is always strongly emphasized, the subject becomes a concise theme, but imitation and intensification are more in evidence than thematic development" (in Paul Klee, New York, 1954, p. 266).

Rasender Krieger II points to the political street violence that had been endemic in Germany for more than a decade since the end of the First World War, and would soon reach a newly critical phase as the Nazi party with its bullying storm-troopers grew in power and influence in national life. The present drawing is the second on this subject, its precursor, Rasender Krieger, executed in black crayon, is in collection of the Paul Klee Stiftung in Bern (The Paul Klee Foundation, ed., no. 4891). What had been manifest darkly in the earlier work's brusque and heavy lines, becomes less opaque, more like a caricature, in Rasender Krieger II, where the lines have been refined to thin rectilinear contours. The ominous gesture of the violent and threatening figure at left, however, clad in a paramilitary uniform and thrusting his stick at the smaller figure, would become all too clear within the next few years.

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