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

Der Tag im Wald

Paul Klee (1879-1940)
Der Tag im Wald
signed 'Klee' (upper left); dated and inscribed '1935 K 19' (on the artist's mount; lower left); inscribed 'der Tag im Wald' (on the artist's mount; lower right)
watercolour, gum arabic and brush and black ink on paper attached to the artist's mount
image: 7 x 11 in. (17.8 x 27.7 cm.)
mount: 8¼ x 12 in. (21.2 x 30.7 cm.)
Executed in 1935
Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Paris.
Curt Valentin [Buchholz Gallery & Valentine Gallery], Berlin & New York.
Henry Kleemann, New York & Munich.
James Gilvarry, New York, by 1960 and at least until 1967.
Galerie Jan Krugier & Cie., Geneva, by 1998.
W. Grohmann, Paul Klee, Geneva & Stuttgart, 1954, p. 310.
The Paul Klee Foundation (ed.), Paul Klee, Catalogue raisonné, vol. VII, 1934-1938, Bern, 2003, no. 6801 (illustrated p. 164).
Baltimore, Museum of Art, Paul Klee, Collection James Gilvarry, June - September 1960; this exhibition later travelled to Richmond, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, September - October 1960.
Champaign, College of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Illinois, Paintings, Drawings and Prints by Paul Klee from the James Gilvarry Collection, September - October 1964, no. 20.
Indianapolis, Herron Museum of Art, Paul Klee, January 1966, no. 18.
Santa Barbara, The Art Gallery, University of California, Paul Klee, Oils, Watercolor, Gouaches, Drawings, Prints from the James Gilvarry Collection, October - November 1967, no. 20 (illustrated).
Venice, Museo d'Arte Moderna Ca'Pesaro, Paul Klee nelle collezioni private, June - October 1986, no. 138 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Milan, Palazzo Reale, October - December 1986. Cannes, Galerie Daniel Gervis, Paul Klee, Oeuvres sur papier, May - July 1990 (illustrated).
New York, Jan Krugier Gallery, Paul Klee, Traces of Memory, May - July 1998, no. 54 (illustrated p. 73); this exhibition later travelled to Geneva, Galerie Jan Krugier, November 1998 - February 1999.
Turin, Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Paul Klee, October 2000 - January 2001 (illustrated p. 143).
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Lot Essay

Der Tag im Wald was executed when the artist was at the height of his powers. In 1930, the newly opened Museum of Modern Art in New York had given Klee the first retrospective of a living European artist. However, at the same time, the world around him was changing dramatically. The rise of the National Socialist party in Germany led to his suspension from his teaching position at the Düsseldorf Academy and ultimately to his departure for Bern with his family at the end of 1933. In the present work from 1934, an abstracted patterning of forms and colour represents an idyllic and innocent world of nature. The black outlines accentuating the luminosity of the orange, brown, grey and blue tones and the lozenge forms are suggestive of a stained glass window, reflecting the artist's increasingly distanced view of reality as an abstract veil of illusion. As Klee declared 'Art is a likeness of the Creation. Occasionally, it is an example, just as the terrestrial may exemplify the cosmic' (quoted in 'Opinions on Creation', in exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1946, p. 11).

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