Geoffneter Berg (Opened Mountain) is one of the finest of a small group of early near abstract works incorporating light paths and coloured circles, that Klee made in 1914. A fusion of a range of influences from Cubism and Kandinsky, to the colour studies he had made on his recent travels with August Macke in Tunisia, these paintings mark one of the first mature flowerings of Klee's art. In their use of flat, seemingly abstract planes of colour, in particular, they also mark the important influence of the work and ideas of Robert Delaunay on Klee.
Klee had first come into contact with Delaunay's work when it was shown as part of an exhibition of Der Blaue Reiter in December 1911. Evidently impressed by what he saw, Klee sought out Delaunay at the first opportunity on a visit to Paris in April 1912. There he saw Delaunay's great canvas La Ville de Paris and many of the 'Window' pictures on which he was working at this time. Later the same year, Klee translated one of Delaunay's essays on light and colour, 'La Lumière'. Delaunay, Klee said, was 'one of the most intelligent artists of his day because he avoided in an astonishingly simple way the inconsistency of the Cubists and their destruction of material objects for the sake of construction; creating independent pictures which led a totally abstract formal life without taking motifs from nature, plastic structures that are almost as far removed from the repetitive character of the patterning of rugs as one of Bach's fugues' (Paul Klee, as quoted by Will Grohmann, Paul Klee, London, 1954, p. 142).
In Geoffneter Berg, Klee presents what appears to be the interior scene of a mountain as a complex and dynamic structure of different colour and light, combining and interacting in a way that poetically suggests vibrant and powerful elemental forces at work beneath the earth. A visual play and counterbalance of light and dark tones, articulating Klee's often stated desire to be able 'improvise' freely with the 'watercolours in his paintbox as if they were a keyboard', this dynamic abstract structure comprised solely of vibrant cones and circles bestows on Klee's landscape an aura of magic and mystery. Out of abstract elements of form 'through their unification in concrete beings' Klee was later to write in his Creative Credo, 'will finally be created a formal cosmos which so closely resembles the Creation that a mere breath suffices to bring life to the expression of religious feelings and religion itself' (Paul Klee, 'Creative Credo' in The Inward Vision: Watercolours, Drawings and Writings by Paul Klee, New York, 1959, pp. 5-10).