- Paul Klee
- LANDGUT BEI FRYBURG (COUNTRY HOUSE NEAR FRIBOURG)
- signed Klee (lower right); titled and dated 1915/236 on the artist's mount
- watercolour and gold paint on paper laid down on the artist's mount
- image size: 18.5 by 19.7cm. 7 1/4 by 7 3/4 in.
- mount size: 25 by 32.5cm. 9 7/8 by 12 3/4 in.
Klee-Gesellschaft, Bern (acquired from the above in 1946)
Rolf & Catherine E. Bürgi, Bern (until 1951)
The Buchholz Gallery (Curt Valentin), Berlin & New York (acquired in 1951)
Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York (acquired from the above)
Estate of the above (sold: Christie's, New York, 9th November 1999, lot 426)
Galerie Krugier & Cie, Geneva
Acquired from the above by the present owner
'The sun sinister and powerful. The colourful clarity on land auspicious'; such is the manner in which Paul Klee described the unique light of North Africa upon his arrival in Tunisia in April 1914. Klee travelled to the region with two other artists, August Macke and Louis Moilliet, and during this time produced paintings and drawings of the landscape with a newfound acute sensitivity to the pictorial possibilities of colour and tone. The medium of watercolour allowed him to evoke the translucent quality of light that had fascinated him.
Depicting a country scene inspired by Klee's native Switzerland, Landgut bei Fryburg was executed just a year after his return from North Africa and testifies to the enduring influence it was to have upon his artistic sensibilities. The delicately faceted composition, within which the prismatic colours gently bleed into each other, is dominated by the contrast of azure blue against orange, sky and sea against sand and stone. Significantly, the present watercolour was executed at a turning point in Klee's career, when he was beginning to discover the expressive capabilities of colour. Apart from his sojourn, Klee found inspiration in Robert Delaunay's 1912 essay 'Sur la lumière', which he translated for publication in Der Sturm. Before this time Klee's œuvre was largely restricted to drawing and print-making, which perhaps explains the slight unease with which he initially described the North African sun, for it presented him with a new horizon at first unfamiliar.