Shortly after his return to Dessau from Egypt in 1929, Klee created several works that recall the North African desert landscape. In this painting, thin horizontal stripes cover the entire surface from edge to edge and top to bottom, while vertical and diagonal lines, some forming acute or obtuse angles, interrupt the colorful flow of the horizontal bars. The two triangular shapes in the bottom half of the composition probably represent two of the three pyramids at Giza.
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Title:Monuments at G.
Artist:Paul Klee (German (born Switzerland), Münchenbuchsee 1879–1940 Muralto-Locarno)
Inscription: Signed and dated (upper right): Klee 1929; Signed and inscribed (verso): DENKMÄLER BEI G.—Klee
the artist (1929–37; on consignment to Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Berlin, 1929–32; on consignment to Galerie Simon [Daniel Henry Kahnweiler], Paris, probably 1933–until 1937; in 1937 to Nierendorf); [Karl Nierendorf, New York, 1937–38; sold in 1938 to Mies van der Rohe]; Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Chicago (1938–50; gift on December 24, 1950 to Georgia van der Rohe); his daughter, Georgia van der Rohe, Munich (from 1950); Heinz Berggruen, Paris and Berlin (1980–84; his gift to MMA)
Berlin. Galerie Alfred Flechtheim. "Paul Klee," October 20–November 15, 1929, no. 122.
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Paul Klee," March 13–April 2, 1930, no. 50 (as "Monuments near G. [Denkmäler bei G.]," lent by the artist through Flechtheim and Neumann).
Düsseldorf. Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen. "Paul Klee," June 14–July 6, 1931, no. 81 (as "Denkmäler bei G.," 1930).
New York. Nierendorf Gallery. "Three Masters of the Bauhaus: Kandinsky, Klee, Feininger," December 18, 1937–March 1, 1938, no catalogue.
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. 225).
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. 239).
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. 239).
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 Landscapes," November 20, 1997–February 8, 1998, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Klee Paintings," September 14, 1999–March 12, 2000, no catalogue.
New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "Mies in America," June 21–September 23, 2001, unnumbered cat. (pl. 2.2).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Klee the Voyager," February 4–May 4, 2003, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Klee Abstract," September 5–December 7, 2003, 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.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Late Klee," October 18, 2012–March 31, 2013, no catalogue.
Ottawa. National Gallery of Canada. "Paul Klee: The Berggruen Collection from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 16, 2018–March 17, 2019, no catalogue.
E. Tériade. "Documentaire sur la jeune peinture, IV: La réaction littéraire." Cahiers d'art 5, no. 2 (1930), ill. p. 81, as "Nécropolis," 1924.
Alfred H. Barr Jr. Paul Klee. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 1930, pp. 9, 16, no. 50.
M[artha]. D[avidson]. "New Exhibitions of the Week. Directions in German Painting: Klee; Kandinsky; Feininger." Art News 36 (January 8, 1938), p. 14, discusses this painting on exhibit at the Nierendorf Gallery [Exh. New York 1937–38].
Jürgen Glaesemer. Paul Klee. Die farbigen Werke im Kunstmuseum Bern: Gemälde, farbige Blätter, Hinterglasbilder und Plastiken. Bern, 1976, pp. 174–75, ill.
Annegret Janda. "Paul Klee und die Nationalgalerie 1919–1937." Paul Klee. Vorträge der wissenschaftlichen Konferenz in Dresden, 19. und 20. Dezember 1984. Berlin, 1986, p. 49, states that this work was temporarily lent to the Nationalgalerie, Berlin permanent collection galleries in 1932.
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. 224–27, 286, 318, ill. (color and bw, overall and detail), suggests that it depicts two of the three pyramids at Giza, which Klee visited during his trip to Egypt from December 24, 1928 to January 10, 1929; relates it to four small watercolors with similar motifs executed after his return to Dessau, and just before this picture (HR nos. 4788–91).
John Russell. "Playful Images Rich in Riddles by Paul Klee at the Met." New York Times (May 6, 1988), p. C1.
Robert and Leda Natkin. "Exhibition Reviews: Paul Klee." Modern Painters 2 (Summer 1989), p. 98.
Ulrich Bischoff. Paul Klee. Munich, 1992, pp. 50, 173, colorpl. 55.
Kathryn Elaine Kramer. "Mythopoetic Politics and the Transformation of the Classical Underworld Myth in the Late Work of Paul Klee." PhD diss., Columbia University, New York, 1993, p. 38.
Dörte Zbikowski inPaul Klee: Reisen in den Süden. "Reisefieber praecisiert". Ed. Uta Gerlach-Laxner and Ellen Schwinzer. Exh. cat., Gustav-Lübcke Museum, Hamm. Ostfildern, 1997, pp. 88, 96 n. 10.
Stefan Frey inPaul Klee: Reisen in den Süden. "Reisefieber praecisiert". Ed. Uta Gerlach-Laxner and Ellen Schwinzer. Exh. cat., Gustav-Lübcke Museum, Hamm. Ostfildern, 1997, p. 257.
Josef Helfenstein and Christian Rümelin, ed. Paul Klee: Catalogue Raisonné. Ed. Paul Klee Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts, Berne. Vol. 5, 1927–1930. New York, 2001, p. 298, no. 4849, ill., as "Denkmäler bei G. (Monuments near G.)".
Vivian Endicott Barnett inMies in America. Ed. Phyllis Lambert. Exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art. New York, 2001, pp. 93, 97, 99, 755, colorpl. 2.2, states that this picture was purchased by Mies van der Rohe from Nierendorf when it was included in Exh. New York 1937–38 [closing date March 1, 1938]; states that Nierendorf had acquired the picture from Kahnweiler in Paris.
Charles W. Haxthausen inKlee and America. Ed. Josef Helfenstein and Elizabeth Hutton Turner. Exh. cat., Neue Galerie, New York. Houston, 2006, p. 165.
Boris Friedewald. Paul Klee: Life and Work. Munich, 2011, pp. 142, 190, ill. (color), suggests that van der Rohe may have seen this picture in Klee's Dessau studio.
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