A photo-certificate from Dr. Josef Helfenstein and Dr. Michael Baumgartner of the Paul Klee Stiftung dated Bern, 6 March 1999 accompanies this watercolor.
On the eve of the First World War Klee in his diaries spoke of striving toward a sensibility of "cool romanticism," by which he could mingle his subjective will with external reality while at the same time using elements of humor and irony to maintain a critical distance from the world. Klee excelled at caricature, but of the kind that loves humanity and its foibles. One recurring image in Klee's work is the town, which, even if abstract or uninhabited, represents society and humanity as a whole. In some of Klee's later architectural fantasies he even appears to take on the role of artist as social engineer, and holds up to the viewer utopian ideals of harmony and positivism in social life. In the present work the artist hints at social forces in a darker light, no doubt responding to the unease that many felt as traditional values inevitably succumbed to the advancing tide of a new century. A dark menacing cloud hangs over these buildings at the outskirts of town, an ill-omen of cataclysmic events to come.