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Clarification

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

Date:
1932
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
27 3/4 x 37 7/8 in. (70.5 x 96.2 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
The Berggruen Klee Collection, 1984
Accession Number:
1984.315.54
  • Description

    In October 1931, Klee began teaching at the Düsseldorf Academy. He felt much at ease in that city, his well-being reflected in his adaptation of a pointillistic, loose mosaic style. But Klee's merry "Pointillism" was different from the method of Georges Seurat and his followers, who broke down the imagery of their paintings into tiny dots of pure color. Klee's works, rather, seem "built up" with row upon row of blocklike units of color chosen without regard to optical laws. In Clarification, due to the very small size of the dots of color, the foreground turns into a transparent screen through which the background is visible. Klee divided the ground into large areas of buff and grays, over which he drew the brown geometric design and the green crescent. Then he covered the entire surface with thousands of tiny color dots in even horizontal rows.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed (upper right): Klee; signed, dated, and inscribed (verso, on stretcher): 1932. M. 6. Klaerung Klee

  • Provenance

    the artist, Dessau (1932–33; sold in 1933 to Scheyer); Galka Scheyer, Los Angeles (1933–d. 1945; her estate, 1945–53; bequest in 1953 to the Pasadena Art Institute); Pasadena Art Institute, later Pasadena Art Museum, California (1953–at least 1962); [Berggruen et Cie, Paris, until 1964; sold in 1964 to Mizne]; Mr. and Mrs. Markus B. Mizne, London, Milan, Monaco (1964–79; sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc. New York, May 16–17, 1979, no. 285, sold to Acquavella); [Acquavella Galleries, New York, 1979]; Heinz Berggruen, Paris and Berlin (1979–84; his gift to MMA)

  • Exhibition History

    Los Angeles Museum. "The Blue Four: Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Paul Klee," October 1933, no. 134.

    Hollywood Gallery of Modern Art. "Paul Klee," July 31–August 1935, no catalogue.

    Oakland Art Gallery. "Paul Klee," September 1–29, 1935, no catalogue.

    San Francisco Museum of Art. "Paintings and Prints by Paul Klee," January 12–February 7, 1937, no catalogue.

    Los Angeles. Stendahl Art Galleries. "Klee," March 11–30, 1940, checklist no. 40.

    San Francisco Museum of Art. "Paul Klee: Memorial Exhibition," April 14–May 5, 1941, no. 3 [addenda to the exhibition of The Museum of Modern Art].

    Los Angeles. Stendahl Art Galleries. "Paul Klee: Memorial Exhibition," May 8–18, 1941 [addenda to the exhibition of The Museum of Modern Art].

    New York. Buchholz Gallery, Curt Valentin. "The Blue Four: Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Paul Klee," October 31–November 25, 1944, no. 57.

    Beverly Hills. Modern Institute of Art. "Klee: 30 Years of Paintings, Water Colors, Drawings and Lithographs by Paul Klee and in a Klee Like Mood: 2,000 Years of Coptic, Persian, Chinese, European and Peruvian Textiles," September 3–October 6, 1948, no. 12 (lent by Galka E. Scheyer Blue Four Collection).

    Pasadena Art Museum. "Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Paul Klee. The Blue Four: Galka E. Scheyer Collection," May 27–August 30, 1955, unnumbered cat.

    Santa Barbara Museum of Art. "The Art of Paul Klee," April 12–May 8, 1960, unnumbered cat.

    Berkeley. University Art Gallery, University of California. "Paul Klee: An Exhibition from the Galka E. Scheyer Collection of the Pasadena Art Museum," May 3–27, 1962, no. 38.

    Jerusalem. Israel Museum. "Works of Art from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Markus Mizne," summer 1966, no. 39.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Summer Loans," July 17–September 30, 1979.

    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. 245).

    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. 253).

    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. 253).

    Mexico City. Centro Cultural Arte Contemporáneo. "Paul Klee: Selección de sesenta obras. The Berggruen Klee Collection. The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 1989–January 1990, no. 58.

    Nagoya. Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art. "Paul Klee Retrospective," April 2–May 23, 1993, no. 183.

    Yamaguchi Prefectural Museum of Art. "Paul Klee Retrospective," June 1–July 25, 1993, no. 183.

    Tokyo. Bunkamura Museum of Art. "Paul Klee Retrospective," July 31–September 21, 1993, no. 183.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Late Klee," December 6, 1996–April 13, 1997, no catalogue.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Klee Paintings," September 14, 1999–March 12, 2000, 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 Abstract," September 5–December 7, 2003, no catalogue.

    Washington. The Phillips Collection. "Klee and America," June 16–September 10, 2006, unnumbered cat. (pl. 74).

    Houston. Menil Collection. "Klee and America," October 6, 2006–January 14, 2007, unnumbered cat.

    London. Tate Modern. "The EY Exhibition—Paul Klee: Making Visible," October 16, 2013–March 9, 2014, unnumbered cat. (pp. 180–81).

  • References

    Ladislas Segy. Works of Art from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Markus Mizne. Exh. cat., Israel Museum. [Jerusalem], 1966, unpaginated, no. 39, ill. frontispiece (color).

    Rita Reif. "Auctions." New York Times (May 11, 1979), p. C22.

    Rita Reif. "Auctions." New York Times (May 25, 1979), p. C26.

    Michael Brenson. "90 Works by Paul Klee Donated to Met Museum." New York Times (June 6, 1984), p. C18.

    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. 244–47, 287, 319, ill. (color, overall and detail, and bw).

    Werner Schmalenbach in Paul Klee Retrospective. Exh. cat., Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art. Nagoya, 1993, p. 356.

    Josef Helfenstein and Christian Rümelin, eds. Paul Klee: Catalogue Raisonné. Vol. 6, 1931–1933. Ed. Paul Klee Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts, Berne. New York, 2002, p. 184, no. 5762, ill.

    Flavia Frigeri in The EY Exhibition—Paul Klee: Making Visible. Exh. cat., Tate Modern. London, 2013, pp. 159, 248, ill. pp. 180–81 (color).

  • See also
    Who
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    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
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