Lot 1
  • 1

Paul Klee

120,000 - 180,000 GBP
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  • Paul Klee
  • In Stellung (In Position)
  • signed Klee (lower right); titled, dated 1939 and numbered VV6 on the artist's mount
  • watercolour on paper laid down on the artist's mount
  • image size: 31.3 by 22cm.; 12 1/4 by 8 5/8 in.
  • mount size: 50 by 35cm.; 19 5/8 by 13 3/4 in.


Lily Klee, Bern (the artist's widow; 1940-1946)

Klee-Gesellschaft, Bern (1946-1949)

Galerie Rosengart, Lucerne (1949-1950)

Oscar Müller-Widmann, Basel (acquired in 1950)

Galerie d'Art Moderne, Basel

Comte Maurice S. d'Arquian, Brussels (until 1959)

Berggruen & Cie., Paris (1959)

World House Galleries, New York (acquired in 1959. Sold: Kunstkabinett Ketterer, Stuttgart, 3rd & 4th May 1962, lot 231)

Rudolf August Oetker, Germany (purchased at the above sale)

Private Collection, Germany (acquired from the above in 1962)

Thence by descent to the present owner


New York, World House Galleries, Paul Klee, 1960, no. 47, illustrated in the catalogue


Georg Schmidt, In memoriam Oskar Müller-Widmann 1887-1956, Basel, 1956 

Jürg Spiller (ed.), Paul Klee Notebooks. The Nature of Nature, London, 1973, vol. 2, illustrated p. 360

The Paul Klee Foundation (ed.), Paul Klee, Catalogue Raisonné, London, 2004, vol. 8, no. 8572, illustrated p. 401

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1939, the most productive year in Klee’s career, In Stellung is a magnificent example of the artist’s ability to blend natural elements and geometric forms into a fantastic, dream-like image. Verging between abstraction and figuration, the composition is built of bold areas of colour separated by black lines. Highly stylised, the resulting elements are evocative of nature, one of Klee’s favourite subjects. The year 1939 was a period of great recognition for the artist. On the occasion of his sixtieth birthday, many articles lauding him as one of the pioneering modernist artists were published in Switzerland and abroad. While displaying a child-like approach to its subject, In Stellung displays the strength and confidence of execution characteristic of the artist’s best works.


Following Klee’s death in 1940, the present work was inherited by his widow Lily Klee, with whom he had lived in Bern after leaving the Bauhaus in Dessau under political pressure of the early 1930s. After Lily’s death in 1946, the present work, along with the rest of her estate, passed into the possession of the newly formed Klee Foundation in Bern. In 1950 In Stellung was acquired by the Basel-based collector Oscar Müller-Widmann, who started by collecting Expressionist art, and later became a prominent collector of constructivist and abstract art, including works by Klee, Arp, Schwitters, Mondrian and Kandinsky. The work has been in the family of the present owner since 1962.