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Paul Klee (1879-1940)

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.
PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF ERNST BEYELER
Paul Klee (1879-1940)

Gelände des Übermutes

Details
Paul Klee (1879-1940) Gelände des Übermutes signed 'Klee' (lower right); dated, numbered and titled '1937 M 18 gelände des übermutes' (lower centre on the artist's mount) charcoal and sanguine on cotton laid down on the artist's mount Cotton: 16¾ x 10 in. (42.5 x 25.4 cm.) Mount: 20¼ x 13 3/8 in. (51.4 x 34 cm.) Executed in 1937
Provenance
Rolf & Catherine E. Bürgi, Bern, and thence by descent in 1967.
Galerie Beyeler, Basel, by whom acquired from the above in 1968.
Fischer Fine Art Ltd., London (no. Kc2270), by whom acquired from the above in 1973.
Private collection, Australia, by whom acquired from the above; sale, Sotheby's, London, 6 February 2007, lot. 435.
Landau Fine Art, Montreal.
Acquired from the above by the late Ernst Beyeler, Basel.
Literature
P. Overy, 'Paul Klee: The Gift of Visual Thinking', in The Times, London, 1 October 1975.
U. Hoff, 'Recent Trends in Art Exhibitions in London and Edinburgh, May - December 1975', in Art and Australia, Sydney, April - June 1976, p. 377 (illustrated).
P. Delamater, Klee and India: Krishna themes in the art of Paul Klee, Ph.D. thesis, University of Texas at Austin, 1991, p. 292 (illustrated).
The Paul Klee Foundation, ed., Paul Klee, Catalogue raisonné, vol. 7, 1934-1938, Bern, 2003, no. 7014, p. 241 (illustrated).
Exhibited
Bologna, Galleria De'Foscherari, Klee, November - December 1971 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Milan, Galleria Eunomia, January 1972.
London, Fischer Fine Art, Paul Klee, 1879-1940, September - October 1975, no. 20 (illustrated).
Basel, Galerie Beyeler, Paul Klee, June - September 2008, no. 41 (illustrated).
Mönchsberg, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Paul Klee, Melodie/Rythmus/Tanz, October - February 2009, p. 217 (illustrated). Paris, Musée de l'Orangerie, jardin des Tuileries, Paul Klee, 1879-1940, La collection d'Ernst Beyeler, April - July 2010, no. 16, p. 41 (illustrated).
Special Notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

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Adrienne Dumas
Adrienne Dumas

Lot Essay

'The high esteem in which Klee, the human being as well as the artist, was held during his last years in Switzerland was due to his ability to speak indirectly to man. We sensed rather than understood his meaning. It was all there, with no discontinuity; but there was no possibility of grasping form without the connection between the different parts of this complex being. When Klee communicated something of himself, it was never more than a fragment of the whole. He was a magician, and has remained so after his death through his work' (W. Grohmann, Paul Klee, London, 1954, p. 96).

Gelände des Übermutes (Area of High Spirits) is an extraordinarily joyous and playful work that Klee created in 1937. As the artist's son Felix Klee has remembered, 'My father's last years in Berne were difficult ones even though a few Berne collectors, such as Hermann Rupf and Hannah Bürgi-Bigler more or less looked after him and made sure that he did not starve to death' (Felix Klee, quoted in Paul Klee, The Berggruen Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, exh. cat., New York, 1988, p. 49). Gelände des Übermutes is one of the several works that were bought from Klee by the Bürgi family at this time to help him during these difficult years in Berne following his exile from Germany.

Taking the form of a pictogram defining a mountain landscape with a winding path over and amidst which small red-brown stick-figures and plants seem to be jumping and dancing, the picture, executed in charcoal and sanguine on a cotton ground, is a simple and whimsical expression of joy. With its strong and magnificent meandering charcoal line weaving a calligraphic path throughout the entire surface of the white ground, the picture seems to pictorially express one of Klee's most famous adages: that drawing is simply 'taking a line for a walk'. Similarly, the joy expressed in the simple but persuasive iconography of this work seems also to reflect the manifest joy that Klee took in his work.

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