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Hammamet with Its Mosque

Paul Klee (German (born Switzerland), Münchenbuchsee 1879–1940 Muralto-Locarno)

Date:
1914
Medium:
Watercolor and graphite on paper mounted on cardboard
Dimensions:
8 1/8 x 7 5/8 in. (20.6 x 19.4 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
The Berggruen Klee Collection, 1984
Accession Number:
1984.315.4
  • Description

    Klee's artistic training, which began in 1898, when he went to Munich for three years to learn to draw and paint, can be said to have lasted until 1914, when he visited Tunisia. The light of North Africa aroused in him a sense of color, and there Klee made his now-famous statement: "Color and I are one. I am a painter."

    On April 14, 1914, Klee visited Hammamet, a small town on the Mediterranean, northwest of Tunis. He captured a view of the city in Hammamet with Its Mosque, a watercolor painted from outside the city walls. As happens so often in Klee's works, the picture consists of representational as well as nonrepresentational elements. The upper part shows the mosque surrounded by two towers and gardens; the lower area is made up of translucent color planes, following Robert Delaunay's (1885–1941) example of making pure color and its contrasts the sole subject of a picture.

    With Heinz Berggruen's gift of ninety works by Paul Klee, the Museum became an important center for the study of the artist. The outstanding examples that Berggruen gathered span Klee's entire career, from his student days in Bern during the 1890s until his death in 1940. Comprehensive in its variety and extraordinary in its quality, The Berggruen Klee Collection comprises eleven oil paintings, seventy-one watercolors, and eight black-on-white drawings.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed (upper left): Klee; dated and inscribed on cardboard (lower left): 1914 199 Hammamet mit der Moschee

  • Exhibition History

    Munich. Galerie Neue Kunst Hans Goltz. "Paul Klee," May–June 1920, no. 89 [catalogue published in "Der Ararat" 2, May–June 1920, p. 22].

    Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. "Paul Klee," February 8–March 25, 1957, no. 8.

    Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels. "Paul Klee," March 29–May 12, 1957, no. 8.

    Kröller Müller Museum. "De Grote Belgische Verzameligen. Verzamelig Urvater," June 29–September 2, 1957, no. 55.

    Leicester Museum and Art Gallery. "Paintings from the Urvater Collection," September 13–October 4, 1958, no. 39.

    York, England. York Art Gallery. "Paintings from the Urvater Collection," October 11–November 11, 1958, no. 39.

    London. Tate Gallery. "Paintings from the Urvater Collection," November 12–December 14,1958, no. 39.

    New York. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. "Paul Klee 1879–1940: A Retrospective Exhibition," February 17–April 30, 1967, no. 18.

    Kunsthalle Basel. "Paul Klee 1879–1940. Gesamtausstellung," June 3–August 13, 1967, no. 22.

    Paris. Musée National d'Art Moderne. "Paul Klee," November 25, 1969–February 16, 1970, no. 17.

    Turin. Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna. "Il Cavaliere Azzurro. Der Blaue Reiter," March 18–May 9, 1971, unnumbered cat. (p. 228).

    Saint Paul de Vence. Fondation Maeght. "Paul Klee," July 9–September 30, 1977.

    Munich. Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus. "Paul Klee: Das Frühwerk 1883–1922," December 12, 1979–March 2, 1980, no. 264.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Selection Two: Twentieth Century Art," June 4–September 2, 1985, no catalogue.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paul Klee: The Berggruen Klee Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 6–July 31, 1988, unnumbered cat. (p. 65).

    Kunsthalle Tübingen. "Paul Klee: Die Sammlung Berggruen im Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York und im Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris," January 22–April 16, 1989, unnumbered cat. (p. 61).

    London. Tate Gallery. "Paul Klee: The Berggruen Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris," May 17–August 13, 1989, unnumbered cat. (p. 61).

    Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. "Figures du Moderne 1905–1914. L'Expressionisme en Allemagne—Dresden, Munich, Berlin," November 18, 1992–April 14, 1993, no. 287.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Klee Landscapes," November 20, 1997–February 8, 1998, no catalogue.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Klee Cities," June 22–September 5, 1999, no catalogue.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Landscapes by Klee and Kiefer," January 12–September 30, 2001, no catalogue.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Klee's Best," May 24–September 22, 2002, no catalogue.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Klee the Voyager," February 4–May 4, 2003, no catalogue.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions," October 24, 2008–February 1, 2009, online catalogue.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Klee: Path to Abstraction," April 9–August 4, 2013, no catalogue.

  • References

    Sabine Rewald. Paul Klee: The Berggruen Klee Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1988, pp. 64–67, 271, 317, ill. (color, overall and detail, and bw).

    Josef Helfenstein and Christian Rümelin, eds. Paul Klee: Catalogue Raisonné. Vol. 2, 1913–1918. Ed. Paul Klee Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts, Berne. New York, 2000, pp. 158, 205, no. 1302, ill.

    Will Grohmann. Der Maler Paul Klee. 4th ed. (1st ed., 1966). Cologne, 2003, pp. 16, 54–55, no. 3, ill. (color).

  • See also
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    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
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