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FROM GOYA TO PICASSO: WORKS FROM THE PRIVATE COLLECTION OF JAN KRUGIER

Paul Klee
DUNKELBUNTES GARTENBILD (PICTURE OF A GARDEN IN DARK COLOURS)
ACCÉDER AU LOT
120

FROM GOYA TO PICASSO: WORKS FROM THE PRIVATE COLLECTION OF JAN KRUGIER

Paul Klee
DUNKELBUNTES GARTENBILD (PICTURE OF A GARDEN IN DARK COLOURS)
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

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Paul Klee
1879 - 1940
DUNKELBUNTES GARTENBILD (PICTURE OF A GARDEN IN DARK COLOURS)
titled and dated 1923/1 on the artist's mount
watercolour and gouache on paper laid down on the artist's mount
image size: 25.1 by 32.2cm., 9 7/8 by 12 5/8 in.
mount size: 27.6 by 33.9cm., 10 7/8 by 13 1/4 in.
Executed in 1923.
Lire le rapport d'état Lire le rapport d'état

Provenance

Galerie Neue Kunst (Hans Goltz), Munich
Levy Collection, Berlin & Israel (acquired circa 1930)
Private Collection, Amsterdam (by descent from the above in 1990; sale: Sotheby's, London, 5th December 1990, lot 340)
Purchased at the above sale by the late owner

Exposition

New York, Jan Krugier Gallery, Paul Klee, Traces of Memory, 1998, no. 22, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Geneva, Galerie Jan Krugier, Ditesheim & Cie, Paul Klee. Traces de la mémoire, 1998-99, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin & Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Linie, Licht und Schatten. Meisterzeichnungen und Skulpturen der Sammlung Jan und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 1999, no. 156, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Venice, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, The Timeless Eye. Master Drawings from the Jan and Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski Collection, 1999, no. 169, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Miradas sin Tiempo. Dibujos, Pinturas y Esculturas de la Coleccion Jan y Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2000, no. 166, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André, La passion du dessin. Collection Jan et Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2002, no. 152, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Das Ewige Auge - Von Rembrandt bis Picasso. Meisterwerke der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2007, no. 162, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Bibliographie

Paul Klee, Œuvre-Katalog, 1923, no. 1
Paul Klee Foundation (ed.), Paul Klee, Catalogue Raisonné 1923-1926, Bern, 2000, vol. IV, no. 3094, illustrated p. 37   

Description

Following Walter Gropius's invitation, Paul Klee began teaching at the Bauhaus in Weimar in 1921, moving to Dessau five years later. The time spent working at the progressive art school, during which time the present work was executed, proved to be the most innovative and fruitful of his artistic career. It was an intensely stimulating and inspiring environment for Klee and his prolific output in these years is testament to his inexhaustible appetite for creativity. Dunkelbuntes Gartenbild is a stunning example of the subtle experiments with form and colour that dominated his artistic practice. The work depicts a garden at night time; indeed nature, and man's relationship with it, was arguably the artist's most important theme. In 1923, the year he executed the present work, Klee himself pronounced that, 'For the artist, dialogue with nature remains a conditio sine qua non. The artist is a man, himself nature and a part of nature in natural space' (Paul Klee, 'Ways of Studying Nature', in Jurg Spiller (ed.), Paul Klee: The Thinking Eye. The Notebooks of Paul Klee, London & New York, 1961, pp. 63-67).

Plants, animals, and gardens were a great source of artistic inspiration for the artist, and though he was extremely knowledgeable about botany, his depictions were the antithesis of static academic studies. Klee drew upon the natural world to explore ideas of growth and fluctuation, often comparing the growth of plants and natural phenomena with the genesis of an artwork. Indeed Klee’s depictions of nature take on a greater significance when considered in the context of the artist's artistic obsession with ideas concerning transformation and flux.

Dunkelbuntes Gartenbild is a wonderfully dynamic, vibrantly coloured work teetering on
the threshold of figuration and abstraction, evoking some of the qualities of the richly decorative and organic surfaces that Matisse had painted a decade earlier in Intérieur aux aubergines, 1911. The pulsating foliage of the garden taking on an intense and otherworldly feel when rendered against the black background, and, as with all of Klee’s most successful works, the forms are in constant dialogue with each other, vibrating and giving the image the artist’s distinctive and subtle energy. It is a delightful work, where Klee’s presence is strongly felt and indeed it features many of his most celebrated elements and themes. The organic composition is made up of bold patches of colour combined with more delicate hatch work and small dots, evoking the innately complex variation of the natural world. The artist’s son Felix Klee described his father’s favourite outing to Wörlitz near Dessau, which inspired his depictions of plants and gardens: it was ‘surrounded by an enchanting park full of lakes and watercourses that made the visitor forget the monotony of the surrounding Elbe flatlands. We strolled past Aeolian harps and exotic giant trees, across rickety footbridges, and took the ferries to the islands. Here Paul Klee was thoroughly in his element, and many of his pictures with plant or water subjects were the outcome of visits to this wonderful park’ (Felix Klee, quoted in Roland Doschka, Paul Klee, Munich, 2001, p. 210).

The natural world of flora and fauna was a central theme in Klee's work, and never more so than in 1923, when Klee published an essay 'Approaches to the Study of Nature' in the publication Staatliches Bauhaus-Weimar 1919-1923. Black backgrounds were a particular feature of the works of 1923 and the present work has close affinities with Landschaft mit gelben Vögeln (Landscape with Yellow Birds) of the same year.

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