Artist: 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


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.