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.