Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Ventriloquist and Crier in the Moor

Artist:
Paul Klee (German (born Switzerland), Münchenbuchsee 1879–1940 Muralto-Locarno)
Date:
1923
Medium:
Watercolor and transferred printing ink on paper, bordered with ink, mounted on cardboard
Dimensions:
16 1/2 × 11 5/8 in. (41.9 × 29.5 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
The Berggruen Klee Collection, 1984
Accession Number:
1984.315.35
Not on view
Imaginery beasts float within a transparent ventriloquist who appears to be all belly-except, of course, for a pair of legs, tiny arms, and a sort of head without a mouth. The little creatures inside the ventriloquist might symbolize the odd noises and voices that seem to emanate from him. The moor is indicated by the background grid of warm earth colors that turns dark toward the center and against which the figure, as part of this grid, stands out like a light-colored bubble in clear reds and blues. As if attracted by the animal sounds above him, a stray fish is about to enter a net dangling from the lower part of the ventriloquist's anatomy-perhaps to join the menagerie within.
Inscription: Signed (upper right): Klee; dated and inscribed on cardboard (lower center): 1923.103 Bauchredner und Rufer im Moor; (lower left): VIII
the artist (1923–d. 1940; on consignment in 1928 to the Galerie Neumann Nierendorf, Berlin; on consignment 1928–32 to the Galerie Neue Kunst Fides [Rudolf Probst]); his widow, Lily Klee, Bern (1940–46; sold in 1946 to Cooper); Douglas Cooper, London and Argilliers (1946–56; sold in November 1956 to Berggruen); Heinz Berggruen, Paris and Berlin (1956–84; his gift to MMA)

Munich. Hans Goltz. "Paul Klee: 2. Gesamtausstellung 1920/1925," May–June 1925, no. 84.

Kunsthalle Bern. "Ausstellung [Der grosse Bär, Paul Klee, Paul Eichenberger, Dora Lauterburg, G. Lüscher, Robert Schmitz]," November 8–29, 1925, no. 70 (as for sale, SFr 1250).

Prague. Kunstverein für Bohmen, Künstlerhaus Rudolfinum-Parlament. "Drei Ausstellungen: I. Jarsov Veris, Paris; Bilder und Zeichnungen; II. Paul Klee, München; 60 Aquarelle; III. Bernhard Reder, Rumänien; farbige Zeichnungen," February 27–March 14, 1926, no. 32.

Brussels. Galerie "L'Époque". "Paul Klee 40 Aquarelles," end March–April 1928, no. 7.

Dresden. Galerie Neue Kunst Fides. "Paul Klee zum 50. Geburtstage. Aquarelle aus den Jahren 1920–1929," February 1–beginning March 1930, no. 10.

Staatliches Museum Saarbrücken. "Paul Klee. Aquarelle aus 25 Jahren, 1905 bis 1930," March 23–April 22, 1930, no. 7.

Hannover. Kestnergesellschaft. "Paul Klee: Gemälde, Aquarelle, Graphik 1903 bis 1930," March 7–April 5, 1931, unnumbered cat. (as for sale).

National Gallery, London. "Paul Klee 1879–1940," December 22, 1945–February 17, 1946, no. 67 (as "Ventriloquist and Crier in the Bog," lent by Frau Professor Klee, Bern).

Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery. "Paul Klee 1879–1940," May 11–June 1, 1946, no. 23 (as "Ventriloquist and Crier in the Bog," lent by Mr. Douglas Cooper).

Sheffield. Graves Art Gallery. "Paul Klee 1879–1940," June 8–29, 1946, no. 23.

Stoke-on-Trent. Hanley Public Museum and Art Gallery. "Paul Klee 1879–1940," July 6–27, 1946, no. 23.

Aberdeen Art Gallery and Industrial Museum. "Paul Klee 1879–1940," August 3–24, 1946, no. 23.

Liverpool. Bluecoat Chambers. "Paul Klee 1879–1940," August 31–September 21, 1946, no. 23.

Manchester City Art Gallery. "Paul Klee 1879–1940," September 28–October 19, 1946, no. 23.

New York. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. "Paul Klee 1879–1940: A Retrospective Exhibition," February 17–April 30, 1967, no. 63 (as "The Ventriloquist and Caller on the Moor," lent by Heinz Berggruen, Paris).

Kunsthalle Basel. "Paul Klee 1879–1940. Gesamtausstellung," June 3–August 13, 1967, no. 69 (lent by Heinz Berggruen, Paris).

Turin. Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna. "Le Muse Inquietanti: Maestri del Surrealismo," November 1967–January 1968, no. 96 (as "Il ventriloquo sullo stagno," lent by Heinz Berggruen, Paris).

Frankfurter Kunstverein. "Aus dem Traumbuch der Maler: Phantasie und Vision. Zeichnungen und Aquarelle," August 10–September 29, 1968, no. 42 (lent by a private collection).

Paris. Musée National d'Art Moderne. "Paul Klee," November 25, 1969–February 16, 1970, no. 63 (as "Ventriloque [crieur dans le Marais] (Bauchredner [Rufer im Moor])", lent by Heinz Berggruen, Paris).

Paris. Berggruen et Cie. "Paul Klee. Les années 20," May–July 1971, no. 24 (as "Bauchredner und Rufer im Moor [Ventriloque criant dans le Marais]").

Cologne. Kunsthalle. "Paul Klee. Das Werk der Jahre 1919–1933. Gemälde, Handzeichnungen, Druckgraphik," April 11–June 4, 1979, no. 101 (as "Bauchredner [Rufer im Moor]," lent by a private collection, Zurich).

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "'Primitivism' in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern," September 19, 1984–January 15, 1985, unnumbered cat. (p. 494; as "Ventriloquist [Caller in the Moor]," lent by Heinz Berggruen, Geneva).

Detroit Institute of Arts. "'Primitivism' in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern," February 27–May 19, 1985, unnumbered cat.

Dallas Museum of Art. "'Primitivism' in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern," July 23–September 1, 1985, unnumbered cat.

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Paul Klee," February 12–May 5, 1987, unnumbered cat. (p. 186; as "Ventriloquist: Caller in the Moor").

Cleveland Museum of Art. "Paul Klee," June 24–August 16, 1987, unnumbered cat.

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. 179).

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. 183).

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. 183).

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. 40.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Parallel Visions: Modern Artists and Outsider Art," October 18, 1992–January 3, 1993, unnumbered cat. (fig. 59; as "Bauchredner und Rufer im Moor [Ventriloquist: Caller in the Moor]").

Haus der Kunst München. "Elan vital oder Das Auge des Eros," May 20–August 14, 1994, no. 333.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Klee at the Bauhaus," April 18–August 17, 1997, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paul Klee: Figures and Faces," August 23–November 16, 1997, no catalogue.

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Sammlung Berggruen. "Klee aus New York: Hauptwerke der Sammlung Berggruen im Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 4–October 18, 1998, no. 25.

Cologne. Museum Ludwig. "Kunstwelten im Dialog: von Gauguin zur globalen Gegenwart," November 5, 1999–March 19, 2000, no. 217.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Klee Figures," October 5, 2001–March 10, 2002, 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 Creatures," December 12, 2003–March 14, 2004, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Klee: His Years at the Bauhaus (1921–1931)," November 19, 2004–April 3, 2005, no catalogue.

Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Das Universum Klee / The Klee Universe," October 31, 2008–February 8, 2009, unnumbered cat. (p. 179; as "Bauchredner und Rufer im Moor [Ventriloquist and Caller in the Marsh]").

Carl Einstein. Die Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts. 3rd ed. Berlin, 1931, pp. 215, 646, ill. p. 538, lists it in the collection of the artist.

Der Querschnitt 11 (end October 1931), ill. between pp. 714 and 715.

"Paul Klee." Cahiers d'art 20–21 (1945–46), ill. p. 40, as "Ventriloque perdu dans le marécage," in the collection of Douglas Cooper, London.

Nancy Wilson Ross in 5 Essays on KIee. New York, 1950, pp. 104–5, calls it "Ventriloquist and Caller in the Marshes".

Will Grohmann. Paul Klee. New York, [1954], p. 414, no. 189, ill. p. 193 (color), as "Ventriloquist (Caller in the Moor)" in the collection of Douglas Cooper, Argilliers, France.

Fritz Baumgart. Geschichte der Abenländischen Malerei von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart. Stuttgart, 1954, p. 248, colorpl. 31, calls it "Bauchredner (Rufer im Moor)" and locates it in the collection of Douglas Cooper, Argilliers.

Will Grohmann. Paul Klee. New York, 1956, pp. 8–9, ill. (color), calls it "Ventriloquist," in the collection of Douglas Cooper, Argilliers.

Gualtieri di San Lazzaro. Klee: A Study of His Life and Work. New York, 1957, pp. 177, 290, no. 46, ill. p. 265, as "Bauchredner (Rufer im Moor). Ventriloquist—Man Shouting in a Bog," still in the Douglas Cooper collection.

Giuseppe Marchiori. La pittura straniera nelle collezioni italiane. Turin, 1960, unpaginated, calls it "Ventriloquo".

Felix Klee. Paul Klee: 12 aquarelles. Paris, 1964, unpaginated, colorpl. 11, calls it "Ventriloque criant dans le marais (Bauchredner und Rufer im Moor)".

Miroslav Lamač. Paul Klee. Prague, 1965, pl. IX.

Christina Kröll. "Die Bildtitel Paul Klees: Eine Studie zur Beziehung von Bild und Sprache in der Kunst des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts." PhD diss., Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Bonn, 1968, pp. 104–6, 176, fig. 31.

Jean-Louis Ferrier. Paul Klee: Les années 20. Paris, 1971, ill. p. 98 and n. p. (color and bw).

Yusuke Nakahara. Paul Klee. Tokyo, 1971, p. 117, ill. and colorpl. 17, as "Bauchredner: Rufer im Moor" in a private collection, Paris.

Margaret R. Polson. "Paul Klee: A Study in Visual Language." PhD diss., University of North Carolina, 1974, p. 157 n. 15.

James Smith Pierce. Paul Klee and Primitive Art. PhD diss., Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. New York, 1976, p. 68, comments that the German word for ventriloquist "Bauchredner" means belly ("Bauch") and speaker ("Redner"), and in this picture the ventriloquist's belly "is filled with images of the animals he imitates".

Eva-Maria Triska in Paul Klee. Das Werk der Jahre 1919–1933: Gemälde, Handzeichnungen, Druckgraphik. Exh. cat., Kunsthalle Köln. Cologne, 1979, p. 72.

Andrew Kagan. Paul Klee/ Art & Music. Ithaca, 1983, pp. 113–16, fig. 54, calls it "Ventriloquist and Caller in the Moor," in a private collection, Switzerland; relates the comical figure in this work to the "Hanswurst," German street clowns admired by Mozart; describes the harmonious color combination of lavender, green and brown as reminiscent of "the lighter flavor of Mozart's sensibility".

Mark Rosenthal. "Picasso's 'Night Fishing at Antibes': A Meditation on Death." Art Bulletin 65 (December 1983), p. 657 n. 55, calls it "Ventriloquist (Caller on the Moor)".

Jürgen Glaesemer. Paul Klee. Handzeichnungen. Vol. 2, 1921–1936. Bern, 1984, p. 19 n. 24, ill. p. 15, calls it "Bauchredner (Rufer im Moor)" in an unknown location.

Jean Laude in "Primitivism" in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern. Ed. William Rubin. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 1984, vol. 2, pp. 493–94, ill. (color), remarks that the transparent animal forms in the ventriloquist's body are similar to the "X-ray compositions" found in aboriginal tree-bark paintings in Northern Australia, as well as in works of the Canadian Tlingit Indians and of Oceanic art; calls the similar technique an example of "an analogy of purpose," used in indigenous art to represent anatomical reality but for Klee depicts "a personal imagery or obsession".

Ann Temkin in Paul Klee. Ed. Carolyn Lanchner. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 1987, p. 30.

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. 178–79, 282, 318, ill. (color and bw), notes that it was copied from a pencil drawing of 1921 (Kunstmuseum Bern; Helfenstein and Rümelin no. 2781).

Philippe Comte. Klee. [Paris], 1989, p. 116, colorpl. 161, calls it "Le Ventriloque (Crier dans le marais) [Der Bauchredner Rufer im Moor]".

Marcel Franciscono. Paul Klee. His Work and Thought. Chicago, 1991, p. 193, fig. 105, as "Ventriloquist and Caller in the Moors".

Reinhold Heller in Maurice Tuchman and Carol S. Eliel. Parallel Visions: Modern Artists and Outsider Art. Exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Los Angeles, 1992, pp. 86, 315, fig. 59 (color).

Barbara Burn, ed. Masterpieces of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 299, ill. (color), dates it 1925.

Kathleen Howard, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. 2nd ed. (1st ed., 1983). New York, 1994, p. 461, no. 52, ill. (color).

Peter-Klaus Schuster in Klee aus New York: Hauptwerke der Sammlung Berggruen im Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., Sammlung Berggruen. Berlin, 1998, p. 18, fig. 11, ill. front cover (color), asserts that this picture reveals Klee's interest in the art of children and the mentally ill; cites a similar drawing by a mental patient illustrated in a 1922 book by psychologist Hans Prinzhorn with which Klee would have been familiar; also suggests that it demonstrates Klee's interest in the invention of the X-ray.

Marta Schneider Brody. "Paul Klee: A Painter and His Objects." PhD diss., San Francisco School of Psychology, 1998, p. 114, ill.

Josef Helfenstein and Christian Rümelin, ed. Paul Klee: Catalogue Raisonné. Ed. Paul Klee Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts, Berne. Vol. 3, 1919–1922. New York, 1999, p. 347, under no. 2781.

Marc Scheps in Kunstwelten im Dialog: von Gauguin zur globalen Gegenwart. Ed. Marc Scheps, Yilmaz Dziewior, and Barbara M. Thiemann. Exh. cat., Museum Ludwig. Cologne, 1999, pp. 86, 532, no. 217, colorpl. 130.

Josef Helfenstein and Christian Rümelin, ed. Paul Klee: Catalogue Raisonné. Ed. Paul Klee Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts, Berne. Vol. 4, 1923–1926. New York, 2000, pp. 76, 95, no. 3197, ill. (color and bw), as "Bauchredner und Rufer im Moor (Ventriloquist and Caller in the Marsh)".

Christina Thomson in The Klee Universe. Ed. Dieter Scholz and Christina Thomson. Exh. cat., Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin. Ostfildern, 2008, pp. 164, 356, ill. p. 179 (color).

Peter-Klaus Schuster in The Klee Universe. Ed. Dieter Scholz and Christina Thomson. Exh. cat., Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin. Ostfildern, 2008, p. 20, fig. 10 (color).

Sebastian Zeidler. "Form and Revolt: Carl Einstein's Philosophy of the Real and the Work of Paul Klee." RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics no. 57/58 (Spring/Autumn 2010), p. 252 n. 59, pp. 261–62, fig. 11, calls it "Ventriloquist and Caller in the Marsh (Bauchredner und Rufer im Moor)".



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