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SIX WORKS BY PAUL KLEE
'I cannot be understood in purely earthly terms... for I can live as happily with the dead as with the unborn. Somewhat nearer to the part of all creation than is usual. But still far from being near enough.' (Paul Klee, quoted in: S. Rewald, The Berggruen Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 1988, p. 100).
The present collection of works on paper by Paul Klee spans the period of 1929 to 1940, the year of Klee's death. This collection provides us with various insights and angles into Klee's work: his colourful shapes and the securely drawn black line, the artist's wit and humour, as well as his intersst in nature and his admiration for innocence can all be witnessed from this collection of works. Klee's approach to nature was a spiritual one which he recorded in diaries, letters and other writings, as well as the works themselves. 'For the artist, dialogue with nature remains a conditio sine qua non. The artist is a man, himself nature and a part of nature in natural space' (Paul Klee, quoted in E. G. Güse, Paul Klee, Dialogue with Nature, Munich 1991, p. 8). Although he stressed the importance of nature in his work, Klee dissociated himself from any artistic concept which would simply represent nature; in Landschaft mit dem Rad, for example, Klee conveys a concept of nature which is stylised and reduced to elements of human spiritual engagement with it. Colourful and friendly, an inviting composition is juxtaposed by the wheel which is drawn as a simple black outline.
Klee's faith in the child's purity of vision is at the very core of his best drawings and watercolours, like Vor- und Nachmachen (lot 476), Närrisch umschauend (lot 479), Landschaft mit dem Rad (lot 477) and Liegende Frau (lot 474), which can be perfectly understood in the light of what his words: 'I want to be as though never born, knowing absolutely nothing about Europe, ignoring facts of fashion to be almost primitive'.
Klee is an artist whose success is as striking as it appears to be contradictory to the engagements of his contemporaries. Not only did he prefer the small scale, but also often preferred the medium of paper and explored its possibilities more than any other artist of his generation. To reinforce the importance of his works on paper, he developed a unique and instinctive way of mounting and inscribing his work. Playing with the enigmatic distance between work and image many of Klee's inscriptions are poetic titles that mysteriously seem to explain or reinforce the visual imagery of the private magical world he both described and seemed to inhabit.
PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTOR