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

Rythmische Baumlandschaft

Details
Paul Klee (1879-1940) Rythmische Baumlandschaft signed, dated and numbered 'Klee 1920/41.' (upper left) oil and pen and black ink on board 18 ¾ x 11 ½ in. (47.4 x 29.3 cm.) Painted in 1920.
Provenance
Galerie Neue Kunst (Hans Goltz), Munich.
Kunstverein Barmen (later renamed Ruhmeshalle, Wuppertal-Barmen), 1923;
Confiscated from the above as "degenerate art" by the Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, Berlin (Entartete Kunst No. 15919), 1937;
Karl Buchholz, Berlin, acquired from the above, 18 February 1939.
Bernhard A. Böhmer, Güstrow.
Edgar Horstmann, Hamburg.
Marlborough Fine Arts, Ltd., London (by 1966).
A.W. Jann, Basel and Zürich.
David Thomson, Toronto (1987, and until 1988).
Thomas Ammann Fine Art AG, Zürich.
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1989.
Literature
W. Hausenstein, Kairuan oder Eine Geschichte vom Maler Klee und von der Kunst dieses Zeitalters, Munich, 1921, p. 112 (illustrated).
L. Scheewe, "Paul Klee“ in Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler, 1927, p. 425.
W. Grohmann, Paul Klee, Paris, 1929 (illustrated).
J.A. Thwaites, “Paul Klee and the Object” in Parnassus, November 1937, vol. 9, no. 6, p. 11.
M. Rabe, "Rhythmus der Bäume. Erläuterungen zu dem Werk Paul Klees" in Die Zeit, 27 January 1949 (illustrated).
W. Grohmann, Paul Klee, New York, 1954, p. 159.
J. Spiller, Paul Klee: Das bildnerische Denken, Form- und Gestaltungslehre, Basel 1956, p. 270 (illustrated).
G. di San Lazzaro, Klee: La vie et l’oeuvre, Paris, 1957, p. 108 (illustrated).
J. Claus, Entartete Kunst. Bildersturm vor 25 Jahren, Munich, 1962, no. 76.
Paul Klee, exh. cat., Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen, Dusseldorf, 1971, p. 160.
J. Spiller, ed., Paul Klee: Das bildnerische Denken, Basel, 1971, vol. I, p. 357, no. 1920/41 (illustrated, p. 270).
C. Geelhaar, Paul Klee: Leben und Werk, Cologne, 1974, p. 43 (illustrated in color).
C. Müller, Das Zeichen in Bild und Theorie bei Paul Klee, PhD. Diss., Technische Universität, Munich, 1979 , p. 131.
S. Wada, Paul Klee and his Travels, Tokyo, 1979 (illustrated, fig. 343).
A. Hüneke, "Weg mit Zwitschermaschine & Paukenorgel!" Paul Klee und die Aktion "Entartete Kunst" in Paul Klee. Vorträge der wissenschaftlichen Konferenz in Dresden, 19. und 20. Dezember 1984, Dresden, 1986, pp. 65-70.
A. Kagan, Paul Klee: Art and Music, Ithaca, 1983, p. 30 (illustrated, p. 32, fig. 8).
E.-G. Güse, Paul Klee: Dialogue with Nature, Munich, 1991, p. 84.
P. DeLamater, Klee and India: Krishna Themes in the Art of Paul Klee, PhD. Diss., University of Texas, Austin, 1991, p. 129.
S. Nell Summers, The Orpheus Legend in Literature, Music and the Visual Arts: Four Twentieth Century Works, PhD. Diss., Texas Tech University, 1993, p. 148f.
Y.-J. Kang, La problématique du signe dans les oeuvres de Paul Klee, PhD. Diss., Université de Paris I, 1994, pp. 151-153, 196, 200, and 202 (illustrated).
W. Kersten and O. Okuda, Paul Klee: Im Zeichen der Teilung, exh. cat., Dusseldorf, 1995, p. 170.
M.F. Popia, L'estetica musicale di Paul Klee, PhD. Diss., Università degli Studi di Genova, Geneva, 1999, pp. 237 and 266 (illustrated).
C. Hopfengart, "Klee an den deutschen 'Museen der Gegenwart', 1916-1933" in Beiträge Bern, 2000, pp. 72 and 88.
Das 20. Jahrhundert in der Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Ostfildern-Ruit, 2000, p. 524.
The Paul Klee Foundation, ed., Paul Klee: Catalogue Raisonné 1919-1922, Bern, 2003, vol. 3, p. 166, no. 2386 (illustrated; illustrated again in color, p. 174).
A. Tiedemann, Die "entartete" Moderne und ihr amerikanischer Markt. Karl Buchholz und Curt Valentin als Händler verfemter Kunst, Berlin, 2013, pp. 138 and 369.
Y. Noda, "Pflanzen und Schriften in den Werken Paul Klees" in Gengo Bunka, 2013, no. 30, pp. 161-177, no. 5 (illustrated).
S. Dahme, "Der Orient und Ägypten im Frühwerk von Paul Klee" in Paul Klee. Die Reise nach Ägypten 1928/29, exh. cat., Galerie Neue Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, 2014, p. 65.
Exhibited
Munich, Galerie Neue Kunst (Hans Goltz), Paul Klee, May-June 1920, p. 21, no. 32.
Darmstadt, Städtisches Ausstellungsgebäude Mathildenhöhe, Deutscher Expressionismus, June-September 1920, no. 349.
Stettin, Adolf Erbslöh, Stettiner Künstler. Pommereder Verein für Kunst und Kunstgewerbe, Paul Klee, November 1922, no. 3.
Berlin, Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Paul Klee, October-November 1929, no. 35.
Dusseldorf, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen in Verbindung mit der Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Paul Klee, June-July 1931, no. 12.
Hamburg, Kunstverein Paul Klee, 1949.
London, The Tate Gallery, A Hundred Years of German Painting, April-June 1956, no. 85.
Kunsthalle Hamburg, Paul Klee, December 1956-January 1957, no. 95.
Munich, Haus der Kunst, Entartete Kunst. Bildersturm vor 25 Jahren, October-December 1962, no. 33.
Berlin, Galerie S. Ben Wargin, Kunst Diktatur: Gestern und heute, June-July 1963, p. 24 (illustrated).
London, Marlborough Fine Arts, Ltd., Paul Klee, June-July 1966, p. 22, no. 10 (illustrated in color).
London, Marlborough Fine Arts, Ltd., Kandinsky and his Friends, Centenary Exhibition, November-December 1966, p. 44, no. 67 (illustrated in color, p. 45).
London, Tate Modern, The EY Exhibition–Paul Klee: Making Visible, October 2013-March 2014, pp. 48 and 62 (illustrated in color, p. 62).
Sale Room Notice
Please note the updated medium, literature and exhibition history for this work which can be accessed online:
Medium:
oil and pen and black ink on board

Literature:
M. Rabe, "Rhythmus der Bäume. Erläuterungen zu dem Werk Paul Klees" in Die Zeit, 27 January 1949 (illustrated). C. Müller,
Das Zeichen in Bild und Theorie bei Paul Klee, PhD. Diss., Technische Universität, Munich, 1979 , p. 131. E.-G. Güse,
Paul Klee: Dialogue with Nature, Munich, 1991, p. 84.
P. DeLamater, Klee and India: Krishna Themes in the Art of Paul Klee, PhD. Diss., University of Texas, Austin, 1991, p. 129.
S. Nell Summers, The Orpheus Legend in Literature, Music and the Visual Arts: Four Twentieth Century Works, PhD. Diss., Texas Tech University, 1993, p. 148f.
Y.-J. Kang, La problématique du signe dans les oeuvres de Paul Klee, PhD. Diss., Université de Paris I, 1994, pp. 151-153, 196, 200, and 202 (illustrated). M.F. Popia,
L'estetica musicale di Paul Klee, PhD. Diss., Università degli Studi di Genova, Geneva, 1999, pp. 237 and 266 (illustrated).
C. Hopfengart, "Klee an den deutschen 'Museen der Gegenwart', 1916-1933" in Beiträge Bern, 2000, pp. 72 and 88.
Das 20. Jahrhundert in der Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Ostfildern-Ruit, 2000, p. 524. Y. Noda, "
Pflanzen und Schriften in den Werken Paul Klees" in Gengo Bunka, 2013, no. 30, pp. 161-177, no. 5 (illustrated).
S. Dahme, "Der Orient und Ägypten im Frühwerk von Paul Klee" in Paul Klee. Die Reise nach Ägypten 1928/29, exh. cat., Galerie Neue Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, 2014, p. 65.

Exhibited:
Stettin, Adolf Erbslöh, Stettiner Künstler. Pommereder Verein für Kunst und Kunstgewerbe, Paul Klee, November 1922, no. 3. Hamburg,
Kunstverein Paul Klee, 1949.
London, The Tate Gallery, A Hundred Years of German Painting, April-June 1956, no. 85.
Munich, Haus der Kunst, Entartete Kunst. Bildersturm vor 25 Jahren, October-December 1962, no. 33.
Berlin, Galerie S. Ben Wargin, Kunst Diktatur: Gestern und heute, June-July 1963, p. 24 (illustrated).




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Lot Essay

Rhythmische Baumlandschaft is one of a small group of colorful landscapes created by Paul Klee during the opening months of 1920, in which he explored the unseen patterns, tensions and rhythms that underpin the natural world. Dividing the picture plane into a series of carefully delineated horizontal bands, Klee pictorially suggests an underlying sense of union and harmony that courses through the universe, tying all aspects of the landscape together with an assured regularity. In the present composition, the artist trains his eye on a grove of trees, their forms reduced to a simplified geometric language of rectangles and circles and dotted across the composition in an irregular, highly intuitive manner. Varying in color and size, they appear as individual specimens with their own unique character, and yet remain part of the unified collective of the wooded landscape.
Throughout his life, Klee displayed a particular affinity for nature and its many forms—he proved extremely sensitive to the timbre of various landscapes, often documenting his response to different terrains in his diary, and assembling a diverse collection of botanical materials which served as visual aides in his studies on form. He believed that by reaching into nature the artist was able to absorb impressions of the world, which could then be channeled into a subjective artistic vision that expressed the inherent truths of the universe. Comparing the source of an artist’s creative impulse to the growth of a tree, Klee explained: “From the root the sap flows to the artist, flows through him, flows to his eye. Thus he stands as the trunk of the tree. Battered and stirred by the strength of the flow, he molds his vision into his work” (quoted in E-G. Güse, ed., Paul Klee: Dialogue with Nature, Munich, 1991, p. 26). However, as with the tree, the resulting image could not be an exact reflection of its source material. Rather, the “crown” of the tree must diverge from the pattern of its roots and develop its own identity, allowing a space for the artist’s creativity to blossom in a new, subjective manner.
Set against a subtly variegated field of soft pastel hues, Rhythmische Baumlandschaft captures a sense of the essential rhythms that drive the eternal cycle of growth in these trees. In many ways, the repetitive patterns and simplified graphic elements appear to echo the visual form of musical scores. Having grown up in a highly musical family, Klee was a skilled violinist with a deep understanding of the complexities of musical construction, composition and theory. These topics had an important impact on his approach to art making, with the artist finding parallels between the principals of musical composition and painterly creation, even going so far as to use a diagrammatic rendering of Bach’s Sonata no. 6 in G major as a teaching aide during his time at the Bauhaus. In Rhythmische Baumlandschaft he uses subtle shifts in weight, character, scale, and space between each of the elements in the scene to generate a dynamic visual pattern in much the same way a composer would play with the tempo or cadence of a score. Indeed, Will Grohmann has written: “In the same way that one reads musical scores and hears them with the inner ear, one can read Klee’s pictures and see them with the inner eye – not arbitrarily, but in accordance with the “directions” he gives the eye” (Paul Klee, London, 1951, p. 162).
Within weeks of its completion, Rhythmische Baumlandschaft was included in an important survey of Klee’s work, held at the Galerie Neue Kunst Hans Goltz in Munich, from May to June 1920. Featuring over 350 works, from oil paintings and sculptures, to drawings, watercolors and prints, the exhibition amounted to something of a mini-retrospective, offering a comprehensive overview of the artist’s dynamic and varied oeuvre. The show was organized as part of the arrangement Klee had reached with the dealer Hans Goltz in October of the previous year, an agreement which not only granted the artist a new level of financial security, but also relieved him of the laborious business and administrative aspects of art making. Explaining the benefits of the contract in a letter to his friend Alfred Kubin dated February 1920, Klee proclaimed: “No exhibition worries any more. Hardly any business correspondence any more!” (quoted in M. Gale, et al., The EY ExhibitionPaul Klee: Making Visible, exh. cat., Tate Modern, London, 2013, p. 47). The Galerie Neue Kunst exhibition proved to be a watershed moment for Klee’s reputation, marking him out as a bold new artistic voice in post-war Germany.

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