Klee’s intense curiosity around the subject of nature started at an early age and continued to be of great importance throughout his artistic career. Indeed, it was because Klee was so in tune with nature and its ways, that he had an unparalleled imagination that was in turn reflected in the immense range and diversity of his oeuvre. It was from nature he fuelled this constant flow of creativity, which for him drew ‘the power that maintains’ (Diary entry no. 212, F. Klee, (ed.), The Diaries of Paul Klee, 1898-1918, Berkeley & Los Angeles, 1964, p. 41.)
Über seeische Früchte (Fruits from overseas) is one of about fifty works from between 1934 to 1940 that refer to ‘fruit’ or ‘harvest’ and closely relates to three other works from 1938 (The Paul Klee Foundation, nos 7395 (Menard Art Museum, Komaki), 7396 (Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, no. 1978.527) & 7397 (Private collection, Japan)). When we look at this body of work of the final few years of his career, it is undeniable that Klee interpreted these subjects in terms of his own artistic output. He was reaching the fruition of years of creativity and we can see this celebrated in Über seeische Früchte.
Through his masterful application of oil on paper, Klee experiments with the medium to produce organic, almost life-like depictions of these weird and wonderful, semi-abstracted fruits. In these representations, Klee exploits the medium to create a vein-like effect through applying the oil in thick overlapping layers. A superb example of this is in the spidery white fruit at the centre of the sheet, expertly contrasted against a pool of dazzling cobalt blue pigment. In this work, Klee has truly achieved bringing the ‘exotic’ and mysterious quality to these fruits from ‘oversees’.
In his lecture at the Kunstmuesum Luzern, Konrad Farmer makes the following observation on this subject: 'the fruit's development is clearly shown: from its innermost core new outer skins emerge, new spaces around it, new masses of fruit flesh. They create themselves out of themselves in a continual process. It is a process that takes place, and the same time the totality is not to all appearances completed; it is linked to the interior and at the same time with the exterior: the umbilical cord is clearly shown, and birth rehabilitation in this way. And the fruit flesh itself is of different quality and different age, but it is not clearly differentiated. The fruit is a totality in motion.’ (Konrad Farner, 23 May 1936, in Paul Klee's Enchanted Garden, Ostfildern, 2008, p. 19).