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Paul Klee (1879-1940)

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PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE SWISS COLLECTION
Paul Klee (1879-1940)

Raumarchitekturen (Auf Kalt-Warm)

Details
Paul Klee (1879-1940) Raumarchitekturen (Auf Kalt-Warm) signed 'Klee' (lower right); dated and numbered '1915 91' (on the artist's mount) watercolour on paper laid down on the artist's mount Sheet: 7 7/8 x 6¾ in. (20 x 17 cm.); Mount: 12 1/8 x 8 7/8 in. (31 x 22.6 cm.) Executed in 1915
Provenance
Lily Klee, Bern, in 1940.
Klee-Gesellschaft, Bern, in 1946.
Felix Klee, Bern, in 1953.
Acquired from the above by the aunt of the present owner in the early 1970s.
Literature
A. Kagan, 'Paul Klee's "Ad Parnassum", The Theory and Practice of Eighteenth-Century Polyphony as Models for Klee's Art', in Arts Magazine, 1977, p. 96 (illustrated).
E.M. Triska, 'Die Quadratbilder Paul Klees - ein Beispiel für das Verhält - nis seiner Theorie zu seinem Werk', in exh. cat. Paul Klee. Das Werk der Jahre 1919-1933. Gemälde, Handzeichnungen, Druckgraphik, Cologne, 1979, p. 50 (illustrated).
E.M. Triska, Die Quadratbilder Paul Klees- ein Beitrag zur Analyse formaler Ausdrucksmittel in seinem Werk und seiner Theorie, Vienna, 1980, pp. 18 & 25 (illustrated).
A. Kagan, Paul Klee, Art & Music, London, 1983, p. 62f (illustrated).
C. Lenz, 'Klee und Delaunay', in exh. cat Delaunay und Deutschland, Munich, 1985, p. 231.
P. Boulez, Le pays fertile, Paul Klee, Paris, 1989 (illustrated).
R. Prange, Das Kristalline also Kunstsymbol - Bruno Taut und Paul Klee. Zur Reflexion des Abstrakten in Kunst und Kunsttheorie der Moderne, Hildesheim, 1991, p. 317.
The Paul Klee Foundation, ed., Paul Klee, Catalogue Raisonné, vol. II, 1913-1918, Bern, 2000, no. 1424, p. 271 (illustrated).
Exhibited
Mannheim, Kunsthalle, Zwei Künstlerphantasten. Paul Klee und Alfred Kubin, November 1924 - January 1925, no. 48.
St. Gallen, Kunstmuseum, Klee. Werke aus dem Familienbesitz, January - March 1955, no. 67.
Berlin, Akademie der Künste, Paul Klee. Werke aus der Nachlass - Sammlung Felix Klee, December 1960 - January 1961, no. 61.
Ulm, Museum Ulm, Paul Klee, December 1962 - January 1963, no. 8.
Bern, Galerie d'Art "Münster", Klee, January - April 1966, no. 6. Bern, Kunstmuseum, Aus der Sammlung Felix Klee. Paul Klee, Kandinsky, Jawlensky, Marc, Feininger u.a., May - August 1966, no. 34.
Bremen, Kunsthalle, Paul Klee. Aquarelle, Handzeichnungen, October - November 1967, no. 65.
Geneva, Galerie Motte, Paul Klee, Huiles - aquarelles - dessins, July - September 1968, no. 51 (illustrated).
Turin, Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna, Il Cavaliere Azzurro, Der Blaue Reiter, March - May 1971, p. 233 (illustrated).
London, Roland, Browse and Delbanco, Paul Klee, 60 watercolours from the collection of Felix Klee, October - November 1971, no. 11.
Parma, Universitá, Istituto di storia dell'arte, Salone dei Contrafforti in Pilotta, Paul Klee fino al Bauhaus, November 1972 - January 1973, no. 162 (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

Raumarchitecturen (Auf Kalt-Warm) (Space Architectures (In Cold-Warm)) is a complex and integrated semi-abstract watercolour-landscape from 1915 that reflects Klee's absorption of important avant-garde influences, and marks the full maturation in his art that took place in the aftermath of his journey to Tunisia in 1914.

Executed during the second year of the Great War, Raumarchitecturen (Auf Kalt-Warm) is a work that, despite the dramatic progress in Klee's art during this period, was painted against an atmosphere of increasing gloom. The painting's crystalline break-up of form into a series of playful 'magic squares' of 'joyful colour' were, for Klee, elements that reflected a desire to escape from the trauma of the times. As he confided to his diary at this time, 'One deserts the realm of the here and now to transfer one's activity into a realm of the yonder where total affirmation is possible. Abstraction. The cool Romanticism of this style without pathos is unheard of. The more horrible this world (as today, for instance), the more abstract our art, whereas a happy world brings forth an art of the here and now. Today is a transition from yesterday. In the great pit of forms lie broken fragments to some of which we still cling. They provide abstraction with its material' (Paul Klee, Diary Entry no. 951, 1915, F. Klee, ed., The Diaries of Paul Klee, London, 1964, p. 313 ).

Entitled Raumarchitecturen (Space Architectures) because of its Cubistic abstraction of the architectural forms of a medieval town, the painting is a work that illustrates how Klee fused the constructive principles of Cubism with the colour theory of Delaunay, to create a new, simple but articulate language representing Nature in abstract terms but without completely departing from the world of objective reality. One of a small group of works so titled from this year, here the colour harmonies of Delaunay's Orphist circles have been translated into the toy-town simplicity and compactness of the architectural geometry to create a Cubist mosaic of coloured form that shimmers with light and gaiety. This joyous quality is conveyed purely through Klee's remarkable sensitivity to colour and light and reflects the astonishing developments he had made working alongside August Macke in Tunisia - where both artists had experimented with precisely the same break-up of form using a similar combination of Cubist and colourist principles.

As a harmonious tapestry of abstract form and colour Raumarchitecturen (Auf Kalt-Warm) can also be seen to correspond to the similar principles of tonal harmony and composition that characterized Klee's beloved Baroque music. Exploring the relationship between art and music, Klee often attempted to create pictorial 'fugues' and famously expressed his desire to be able to 'improvise freely on the keyboard of rows of watercolour cups' (Klee, Diary Entry no. 873, in ibid., p. 244).

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