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Details & Cataloguing

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Paul Klee
1879 - 1940
TIEF-EBENE (LOWLANDS)
signed Klee (lower left); titled, dated 1932.9. and inscribed S.Cl X on the artist's mount
watercolour and wash on paper laid down on the artist's mount
sheet size: 30.5 by 48cm. 12 by 18 7/8 in.
mount size: 40 by 56.5cm. 15 3/4 by 22 1/4 in.
Executed in 1932. Klee inscribed this work with the abbreviation S.Cl ('Sonderclasse' or 'special class'), which he used to denote his most successful works.
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Provenance

Rudolf Probst (Galerie Neue Kunst Fides), Dresden & Mannheim (until 1933)
Lily Klee, Bern (1940-46)
Klee-Gesellschaft, Bern (acquired in 1946)
James Gilvarry, New York (acquired by 1956. Sold: Christie's, New York, 14th November 1984, lot 422)
Acquired directly from the above

Exhibited

Bern, Kunsthalle, Paul Klee, 1934, no. 191
Basel, Kunsthalle, Paul Klee, 1935, no. 127
Lucerne, Kunstmuseum, Paul Klee, 1936, no. 95
Bern, Kunstmuseum, Paul Klee, 1956, no. 619
Hamburg, Kunsthalle, Paul Klee, 1956-57, no. 284
Baltimore, Museum of Art & Richmond, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Paul Klee. Private Collection James Gilvarry, 1960
Champaign, University of Illinois, Krannert Art Museum, Paintings, Drawings and Prints by Paul Klee from the James Gilvarry Collection, 1964, no. 18
Indianapolis, Herron Museum of Art, Paul Klee, 1966, no. 16
Santa Barbara, University of California, The Art Gallery, Paul Klee: Oils, Watercolors, Gouaches, Drawings, Prints from the James Gilvarry Collection, 1967, no. 18, illustrated in the catalogue

Literature

Max Huggler, 'Paul Klee', in Künstler Lexikon der Schweiz XX. Jahrhundert, Frauenfeld, 1958-61, vol. I, p. 527
Max Huggler, Paul Klee. Die Malerei als Blick in den Kosmos, Frauenfeld & Stuttgart, 1969, mentioned pp. 123-124
Jürg Spiller (ed.), Paul Klee Notebooks, London, 1973, vol. II, illustrated p. 330 (titled Lowland plain)
Christie's Year in Review, 1984, illustrated
The Paul Klee Foundation (ed.), Paul Klee Catalogue Raisonné, London, 2002, vol. 6, no. 5705, illustrated p. 164; illustrated in colour p. 207

Catalogue Note

Tief-Ebene is a remarkable example of Klee's pointillist technique, which characterised his output in the early 1930s. Reminiscent of the pointillist works by the neo-Impressionist artists, this style enabled Klee to explore the harmonies and contrasts of colour. Not unlike the scientific experiments of Georges Seurat, Klee meticulously populated the sheet with brilliant, almost translucent strokes of watercolour, often applied by small stamps he made out of heads of nails, exploiting different intensities of hues to create a sense of depth and movement. In the present work, Klee has combined dots of various pigments with a soft wash to depict a landscape of wonderfully subtle, lyrical quality.

Looking Closely: A Private Collection

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London