The first owner of this work was Galka E. Scheyer (1889-1945), a collector and dealer whose primary interest was in ‘The Blue Four’: Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Klee and Feininger. In 1924 she moved from Germany to New York, and later settled in California. In America, particularly California, she befriended a number of collectors and museum curators, and energetically promoted the four artists, organising group and solo exhibitions, and giving lectures on their work. The present work was included in exhibitions organised by Scheyer and held in American galleries in the 1940s. It was mainly through her activities, as well as those of the dealer Curt Valentin, that works by Klee were introduced to American collections. Bildnis einer Veilchenäugigen was later in the collection of Leonard Lionni (1910-1999), the artist, writer and illustrator of children’s books. Born in the Netherlands, Lionni lived in Italy and the United States. The present work remained in his collection until his death in 1999, and was subsequently sold at auction in New York.
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