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

Der Ballon im Fenster

Paul Klee (1879-1940)
Der Ballon im Fenster
signed 'Klee' (lower right); dated, numbered and inscribed 'IV 1929. C.7. der Ballon im Fenster' (on the artist's mount)
watercolour on paper, laid down on the artist's mount
Image: 12 ¾ x 9 ½ in. (32.5 x 24.2 cm.)
The artist's mount: 13 5/8 x 9 ¾ in. (34.5 x 24.7 cm.)
Executed in 1929
Lily Klee, Bern, by descent from the artist in 1940, until 1946.
Klee-Gesellschaft, Bern, by 1946, until 1947.
Douglas Cooper, London & Argilliers, until 1955.
Galerie Berggruen, Paris, by 1955.
Hanover Gallery, London, by 16 February 1956.
Sir Edward & Lady Nika Hulton, London, by whom acquired from the above on 7 April 1956.
Galerie Beyeler, Basel (no. 7896), by whom acquired from the above, circa 1973.
Private collection, Italy, by whom acquired from the above on 9 September 1981.
Anonymous sale, Finarte, Lugano, 28 March 1992, lot 91.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
M. Brion, Klee, Paris, 1955, no. 38, n.p. (illustrated).
M.L. Rosenthal, Paul Klee and the Arrow, Ph.D. thesis, Iowa, July 1979, pp. 106-107 (illustrated fig. 86, p. 289).
S.L. Henry, 'Paul Klee’s Pictorial Mechanics from Physics to the Picture Plane', in Pantheon, no. 47, Munich, 1989, p. 165.
J. Anger, Modernism and the Gendering of Paul Klee, Ph.D. thesis, Providence, May 1997, note 72, n.p..
The Paul Klee Foundation, ed., Paul Klee, Catalogue raisonné, vol. V, 1927-1930, Bern, 2001, no. 4883, p. 334 (illustrated).
London, Hanover Gallery, The Hanover Gallery Presents Paul Klee: 1879-1940, June - July 1956, no. 21, n.p. (illustrated).
Wuppertal, Kunst- und Museumsverein, Sammlung Sir Edward und Lady Hulton, London, 1964, no. 89; this exhibition later travelled to Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, 1964; Frankfurt, Kunstverein, 1965; Munich, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, 1965; and Dortmund, Museum am Ostwall, July 1965.
Zurich, Kunsthaus, Sammlung Sir Edward und Lady Hulton, London, December 1967 - January 1968, no. 91.
Basel, Galerie Beyeler, Klee, 'Kunst ist ein Schöpfungsgleichnis', September - November 1973, no. 47, n.p. (illustrated; with inverted dimensions).
Paris, Galerie Karl Flinker, Klee, 74 oeuvres de 1908 à 1940, March - May 1974, no. 38, n.p. (with inverted dimensions).
London, Fischer Fine Art, Paul Klee: 1879-1940, September - October 1975, no. 13, n.p. (illustrated; with inverted dimensions).
Madrid, Fundación Juan March, Klee: Óleos, acuarelas, dibujos y grabados, March - May 1981, no. 52, n.p. (illustrated; with inverted dimensions).

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Keith Gill
Keith Gill

Lot Essay

Executed in 1929, Der Ballon im Fenster encapsulates the charming nature of Paul Klee’s artistic vocabulary, taking as its focus a multicoloured balloon which the artist has glimpsed through a gap in the curtains, its bright form floating serenely across the sky above a landscape bathed in the pink glow of a setting sun. This delicate watercolour, executed in a palette of vibrant hues, emerged during the artist’s final year of teaching at the revolutionary Bauhaus, where he was renowned amongst students for his unique style of teaching and philosophical approach to pictorial analysis. The entire composition is constructed in a series of richly coloured horizontal bands, their tones ranging from the highly saturated hues of orange, blue and green in the curtains and the balloon, to the soft, pastel shades of peach and gold in the sky, achieving a new chromatic richness inspired by the artist’s travels through Egypt at the beginning of the year.

As 1929 drew to a close, Klee celebrated his fiftieth birthday, an occasion marked with great fanfare by the faculty and students of the Bauhaus. The peak of the celebrations was a surprise aerial delivery, in which gifts attached to small parachutes were dropped from an aeroplane as it passed over Klee’s house. Organised by the student council, with packages designed by Anni Albers, the event was as much an homage to the artist’s enchanting spirit as it was to his winsome aesthetic.

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