Paul Klee: Making Visible
16 October 2013 – 9 March 2014
One of the greats of European Modernism, this exhibition celebrates the exhilarating wit and spontaneity of Paul Klee.
View our video tour of the exhibition.
A teacher at the Bauhaus and a member of the radical art movement Blue Rider, Paul Klee was one of the key figures of early modern art.
Born in Switzerland in 1879, he rejected a career in music for art, yet music remained central to the composition of his paintings, instilling in them a dynamic rhythm.
He lived through two world wars and witnessed the rise of Fascism in Germany, being dismissed from his post at the Bauhaus and labelled a degenerate by Hitler. Yet his paintings and drawings remained witty and life affirming, exemplified by his spontaneous series ‘taking a line for a walk’.
This exhibition charts the three stages of his career, from his early breakthroughs during the First World War, when he developed his individual abstract patchwork of colours, through his time at the Bauhaus to his return to Switzerland at the end of his life.
There are many cherished creations to chose from, and some unusual ones too. Comedy, 1921, depicts a collection of abstract shapes stacked into figures that teeter on tiny legs. Positioned as if on a stage, they are suggestive of early Dada performances in which artists would dress up and recite nonsense poetry and perform actions. The sepia and black background is unusual for Klee, who was better known for his use of bold colour, yet echoes his interest in German Expressionism.
Also on show is his radical series 'taking a line for a walk', a series of wiggly lines that chart his quizzical investigations with drawing.