Otto Ralfs, Braunschweig (acquired in 1930)
Fritz Trüssel, Bern (acquired in 1931)
Sale: Galerie Kornfeld, Bern, 19th June 1980, lot 687
Private Collection, Switzerland (purchased at the above sale)
Thence by descent to the present owner
Verging between abstraction and figuration, Klee’s delicately drawn lines create a rhythmic, poetic pattern combining rectangular and trapezoid forms of the spaceship with circular and elliptical shapes evocative of stars and planets. The use of bright colours harmoniously juxtaposed in mosaic-like planes reflects the block-like squares with which he had previously depicted the architecture of North Africa, and heralds a new tendency towards abstraction. Klee visited Egypt in 1928, the year before he created the present composition, and although it impressed him less than Tunisia, the translucent quality of the watercolour in his subsequent work, including Raumfahrt, reflects the influence of the light that he witnessed in Egypt.
For several decades this work was in the collection of the lawyer Dr Fritz Trüssel, a close friend of the Klee family. Trüssel had an important collection of French art from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, as well as a number of works by Klee and other Swiss artists. After his death the collection was divided between his daughters, and Raumfahrt was sold at auction in Bern in 1980, where it was acquired by the family of the present owner.
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