Art/ Collection/ Art Object

One Who Understands

Artist:
Paul Klee (German (born Switzerland), Münchenbuchsee 1879–1940 Muralto-Locarno)
Date:
1934
Medium:
Oil and gypsum on canvas
Dimensions:
21 1/4 x 16 in. (54 x 40.6 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, 1998
Accession Number:
1999.363.31
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 906
The squared circle of the abstracted head in Klee's painting is made of the same lines that divide the picture like a cracked windowpane. Klee taught at the Bauhaus - first in Weimar and then in Dessau - between 1921 and 1931 and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf from 1931 to 1933. Hitler's National Socialists declared his work "degenerate" and fired him in 1933.
Inscription: Signed (left center): Klee; dated and numbered (bottom left): 1934 K 20; inscribed (bottom right): ein Verständiger
George L. K. Morris, New York (by 1940–at least 1943); Leland Hayward, New York (by 1945–at least 1953); Sotheby's, London, November 24–25, 1964, no. 82, withdrawn from sale; [Marlborough Gallery, Zurich, 1967–68; sold on December 4, 1968 to Gelman]; Jacques and Natasha Gelman, Mexico City and New York (1968–his d. 1986); Natasha Gelman, Mexico City and New York, 1986–d. 1998; her bequest to MMA)

Kunsthalle Basel. "Paul Klee," October 27–November 24, 1935, no. 165 (as "Ein Verständiger," for sale, SFr 600).

New York. Buchholz Gallery (Curt Valentin) and Willard Gallery. "Paul Klee," October 9–November 2, 1940, no. 80 (lent by Mr. Georges [sic] L. K. Morris, New York).

Northhampton, Mass. Smith College Museum of Art. "Paul Klee: Memorial Exhibition," January 7–22, 1941, no catalogue.

Arts Club of Chicago. "Paul Klee: Memorial Exhibition," January 31–February 28, 1941, no. 56 (lent by George L. K. Morris, New York).

Portland, Ore. Portland Art Museum. "Paul Klee: Memorial Exhibition," March 10–April 9, 1941, no catalogue.

San Francisco Museum of Art. "Paul Klee: Memorial Exhibition," April 14–May 5, 1941.

Los Angeles. Stendahl Art Galleries. "Paul Klee: Memorial Exhibition," May 8–18, 1941.

City Art Museum of Saint Louis. "Paul Klee: Memorial Exhibition," May 24–June 21, 1941, no catalogue.

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Paul Klee," June 30–July 27, 1941, no. 56 (lent by George L. K. Morris, New York).

Wellesley, Mass. Wellesley College. "Paul Klee: Memorial Exhibition," October 14–November 2, 1941, no catalogue.

New York. Buchholz Gallery (Curt Valentin). "Paul Klee, André Masson & Some Aspects of Ancient and Primitive Sculpture," February 23–March 20, 1943, no. 19.

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. 15 (lent by Mr. Leland Hayward).

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Modern Art in Your Life," October 5–December 4, 1949, unnumbered cat. (p. 32; lent by Leland Hayward, New York) [catalogue published in The Museum of Modern Art Bulletin, vol. 17, no. 1, 1949].

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Twentieth-Century Modern Masters: The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection," December 12, 1989–April 1, 1990, unnumbered cat. (p. 196).

London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Twentieth-Century Modern Masters: The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection," April 19–July 15, 1990, unnumbered cat.

Martigny. Fondation Pierre Gianadda. "De Matisse à Picasso: Collection Jacques et Natasha Gelman," June 18–November 1, 1994, unnumbered cat. (p. 220).

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

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Klee Figures," October 5, 2001–March 10, 2002, no catalogue.

Jankel Adler. "Memories of Paul Klee." Horizon 6 (October 1942), ill between pp. 264 and 265.

Margaret Miller, ed. Paul Klee. rev. enl. ed. (1st ed., 1941). New York, 1945, ill. p. 56, as in the collection of Leland Hayward.

Carola Giedion-Welcker. "Bildinhalte und Ausdrucksmittel bei Paul Klee." Werk 35 (March 1948), p. 87.

Judith Kaye Reed. "Modern Art in Your Life." Art Digest 24 (October 15, 1949), p. 11, ill.

Allene Talmey. "Leland Hayward: Notes on a Remarkable Producer, Idea Man, Financier, and Photographer, Whose Cable Address is 'Haywire, New York'." Vogue 121 (May 15, 1953), ill. p. 49 (installation photo).

J[ürg]. Sp[iller]. "Uber Norm und Anorm bei Paul Klee." Documenta Geigy (1957), unpaginated, ill.

Sabine Rewald in Twentieth-Century Modern Masters: The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection. Ed. William S. Lieberman. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1989, pp. 195–97, 302, ill. (color and bw), calls it one of the last of about thirteen works from 1933–34 depicting similar heads, and reproduces a drawing nearly identical to this picture, "Do Not Underestimate Me" (1933; Kunstmuseum Bern; HR 6457).

William S. Lieberman in Twentieth-Century Modern Masters: The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection. Ed. William S. Lieberman. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1989, p. 16.

William S. Lieberman. "Donation Gelman: l'École de Paris au Metropolitan." Connaissance des arts no. 554 (October 1998), p. 106.

Sabine Rewald in "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 1999–2000." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 58 (Fall 2000), p. 59, ill. (color), calls it "The One Who Understands".

Josef Helfenstein and Christian Rümelin, ed. Paul Klee: Catalogue Raisonné. Ed. Paul Klee Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts, Berne. Vol. 6, 1931–1933. New York, 2002, p. 477, under no. 6457.

Josef Helfenstein and Christian Rümelin, ed. Paul Klee: Catalogue Raisonné. Ed. Paul Klee Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts, Berne. Vol. 7, 1934–1938. New York, 2003, pp. 52, 132, no. 6578, ill. pp. 52 and 80 (color), as "Ein Verständiger (A Sensible Man)".



Related Objects

Ass (Esel)

Artist: Paul Klee (German (born Switzerland), Münchenbuchsee 1879–1940 Muralto-Locarno) Date: 1925 Medium: Lithograph Accession: 64.554.2(5) On view in:Not on view

The Saint of the Inner Light (Die Helige vom inner Licht)

Artist: Paul Klee (German (born Switzerland), Münchenbuchsee 1879–1940 Muralto-Locarno) Date: 1921 Medium: Lithograph with brown background Accession: 1984.1203.190(5) On view in:Not on view

The Bauhaus Portfolio: New European Graphics III

Artist: Paul Klee (German (born Switzerland), Münchenbuchsee 1879–1940 Muralto-Locarno) Date: 1921 Medium: Lithograph (portfolio cover) Accession: 1984.1203.191 On view in:Not on view

Bird Comedy (Vogelkomödie)

Artist: Paul Klee (German (born Switzerland), Münchenbuchsee 1879–1940 Muralto-Locarno) Date: 1918 Medium: Lithograph Accession: 53.646.2(12) On view in:Not on view

Hoffmannesque Scene (Hofmanneske Szene)

Artist: Paul Klee (German (born Switzerland), Münchenbuchsee 1879–1940 Muralto-Locarno) Date: 1921 Medium: Lithograph in gold, maroon, brown and black Accession: 1984.1203.190(6) On view in:Not on view