Details & Cataloguing

Looking Closely: A Private Collection


Paul Klee
1879 - 1940
signed Klee (upper right); dated 1919.1 on the artist's mount
gouache and watercolour on chalk primed paper laid down on the artist's mount
sheet size: 17.8 by 22.8cm. 7 by 9in.
mount size: 19.2 by 23.5cm. 7 1/2 by 9 1/4 in.
Executed in 1919.
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Private Collection, United States (sold: Sotheby's, New York, 12th May 1987, lot 152)
Acquired directly from the above


Munich, Galerie Neue Kunst Hans Goltz, Paul Klee, 1920, no. 195
Jena, Kunst-Verein zu Jena, Paul Klee, 1920, no. 23


The Paul Klee Foundation (ed.), Paul Klee Catalogue Raisonné, London, 1999, vol. 3, no. 2064, illustrated p. 37

Catalogue Note

Executed in 1919, Freundlicher Ort combines two major themes that preoccupied Klee at this time: architecture and gardens. The use of bright colours harmoniously juxtaposed in flat, geometric planes reflects the block-like squares with which he had previously depicted North African architecture, while at the same time heralding a new tendency towards abstraction. This increasing interest in abstraction is visible in the mosaic-like build-up of the composition, with rectangular patches of colour denoting buildings and elongated shapes for meandering paths between them. Their straight-edged, geometric form emphasise the flatness of the picture plane.


These references to architecture are punctuated by plant-like green brushstrokes, underlining the joyous, playful tone of the work. Klee, who at the invitation of the architect Walter Gropius was to join the Bauhaus school in Weimar in 1921, did not, however, approach architecture in a rigidly constructivist, utilitarian manner common to other Bauhaus members. Retaining the poetic, naïve manner of his earlier work, Klee instead created a utopian, fantastic architecture in response to the destruction caused by the First World War. During this phase of so-called Architekturphantasie, he executed a number of oils and watercolours in which he constructed a new, fantastic world, of which Freundlicher Ort is a wonderful example.

Looking Closely: A Private Collection