Klee's artistic training, which began in 1898, when he went to Munich for three years to learn to draw and paint, can be said to have lasted until 1914, when he visited Tunisia. The light of North Africa aroused in him a sense of color, and there Klee made his now-famous statement: "Color and I are one. I am a painter."
On April 14, 1914, Klee visited Hammamet, a small town on the Mediterranean, northwest of Tunis. He captured a view of the city in Hammamet with Its Mosque, a watercolor painted from outside the city walls. As happens so often in Klee's works, the picture consists of representational as well as nonrepresentational elements. The upper part shows the mosque surrounded by two towers and gardens; the lower area is made up of translucent color planes, following Robert Delaunay's (1885–1941) example of making pure color and its contrasts the sole subject of a picture.
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Title:Hammamet with Its Mosque
Artist:Paul Klee (German (born Switzerland), Münchenbuchsee 1879–1940 Muralto-Locarno)
Medium:Watercolor and graphite on paper mounted on cardboard
Inscription: Signed (upper left): Klee; dated and inscribed on cardboard (lower left): 1914 199 Hammamet mit der Moschee
Hermann Probst, Kochel (from 1914); Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Berchtold Urvater, Brussels (by 1956–63; sold in 1963 to Beyeler); [Galerie Beyeler, Basel, 1963; sold in 1963 to Berggruen]; Heinz Berggruen, Paris and Berlin (1963–84; his gift to MMA)
Munich. Galerie Neue Kunst Hans Goltz. "Paul Klee," May–June 1920, no. 89 [catalogue published in "Der Ararat" 2, May–June 1920, p. 22].
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Liège. "Dix ans d'APIAW: Salon du Dixième Anniversaire," April 28–May 27, 1956, no. 44 (as "Hammamet et la mosquée," lent by J. B. Urvater, Bruxelles).
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. "Paul Klee," February 8–March 25, 1957, no. 8 (as "Hammamet met moskee," lent by J. B. Urvater, Brussels).
Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels. "Paul Klee," March 29–May 12, 1957, no. 8 (as "Hammamet et la mosquée," lent by J. B. Urvater, Brussels).
Otterlo. Kröller-Müller Museum. "De Grote Belgische Verzameligen. Verzamelig Urvater," June 29–September 2, 1957, no. 55.
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Liège. "Les Grandes Collections Belges. Collection Urvater," October 5–November 11, 1957, no. 55.
Leicester Museum and Art Gallery. "Paintings from the Urvater Collection," September 13–October 4, 1958, no. 39.
City of York Art Gallery. "Paintings from the Urvater Collection," October 11–November 1, 1958, no. 39.
London. Tate Gallery. "Paintings from the Urvater Collection," November 12–December 14,1958, no. 39.
Belgrade. Art Pavilion. "Nadrealisti i apstraktni. Zbirka Urvater," April 7–21, 1959.
Zagreb. Moderna Galerija, Zagreb. "Nadrealisti i apstraktni. Zbirka Urvater," April 29–May 14, 1959.
New York. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. "Paul Klee 1879–1940: A Retrospective Exhibition," February 17–April 30, 1967, no. 18 (as "Hammamet with the Mosque," lent by Heinz Berggruen, Paris).
Kunsthalle Basel. "Paul Klee 1879–1940. Gesamtausstellung," June 3–August 13, 1967, no. 22 (lent by Heinz Berggruen, Paris).
Paris. Musée National d'Art Moderne. "Paul Klee," November 25, 1969–February 16, 1970, no. 17 (as "Hammamet à la mosquée," lent by Heinz Berggruen, Paris).
Turin. Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna. "Il Cavaliere Azzurro. Der Blaue Reiter," March 18–May 9, 1971, unnumbered cat. (p. 228; lent by Heinz Berggruen, Paris).
Saint-Paul. Fondation Maeght. "Paul Klee," July 9–September 30, 1977, no. 7 (as "Hammamet avec la mosquée," lent by a private collection, Paris).
Munich. Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus. "Paul Klee: Das Frühwerk 1883–1922," December 12, 1979–March 2, 1980, no. 264 (lent by a private collection, Switzerland).
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. 65).
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. 61).
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. 61).
Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. "Figures du Moderne 1905–1914. L'Expressionisme en Allemagne—Dresden, Munich, Berlin," November 18, 1992–March 14, 1993, no. 287 (as "Hammamet avec la mosquée").
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 Cities," June 22–September 5, 1999, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Landscapes by Klee and Kiefer," January 19–September 30, 2001, 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 the Voyager," February 4–May 4, 2003, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions," October 24, 2008–February 1, 2009, online catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Klee: Path to Abstraction," April 9–August 4, 2013, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. "Humor and Fantasy: The Berggruen Paul Klee Collection," September 1, 2016–January 2, 2017, no catalogue.
Felix Klee. Paul Klee: 12 aquarelles. Paris, 1964, unpaginated, colorpl. 1, calls it "Hammamet avec la mosquée".
Jean-Christophe Ammann. "Die Tunesian-Aquarelle Paul Klees von 1914." Kunst-Nachrichten 2 (December 1965), unpaginated, fig 3. (color), as in the collection of the Galerie Berggruen, Paris.
Uta Laxner. "Stilanalytische Untersuchungen zu den Aquarellen de Tunisreise 1914: Macke, Klee, Moilliet." PhD diss., Universität Bonn, 1967, pp. 139–42, 146–49, 162–63, 177, no. 41, notes the influence of Delaunay's "Windows" series on this work.
Will Grohmann. Paul Klee. New York, , pp. 20, 74, 138, ill. p. 75 (color), calls it "Hammamet with Mosque"; asserts that this picture was painted in Munich from the memory of Klee's Tunisia trip earlier in the year; discusses the narrow strip of paper along the right edge of this work as added "not to make the picture larger, but to complement the schema with a few narrow rectangles of the same colors as the rest, plus some blue which was missing among the complementary colors in the lower part of the picture".
Thomas M. Messer. Paul Klee Exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum: A Post Scriptum. New York, 1968, pp. 8, 31, ill. p. 11 (color), as "Hammamet with the Mosque".
Denys Chevalier. Klee. New York, 1971, p. 28, ill. p. 6 (color), as "Hammamet with Mosque," in the collection of Heinz Berggruen, Paris.
Thomas M. Messer. "Paul Klee at the Baltimore Museum of Art." Baltimore Museum of Art Annual 4, no. 12 (1972), p. 71, fig. 2, as "Hammamet with the Mosque".
H. H. Arnason. History of Modern Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture. Rev. and enl. ed. New York, 1977, p. 265, colorpl. 106, as "Hammamet with the Mosque".
Daniel Abadie. Paul Klee. [Paris], 1977, p. 168, ill. p. 35, as "Hammamet avec la mosquée".
Regula Suter-Raeber inPaul Klee. Das Frühwerk 1883–1922. Ed. Armin Zweite. Exh. cat., Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus. Munich, 1979, pp. 133, 140, 143, 147, ill. p. 142 (color), asserts that Klee painted this work in April while in Tunisia, but only assigned his inventory number after Christmas 1914.
Magdalena Droste inPaul Klee: Das Frühwerk 1883–1922. Ed. Armin Zweite. Exh. cat., Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus. Munich, 1979, p. 416, no. 264.
Jean Duvignaud. Klee en Tunisie. Lausanne, 1980, ill. p. 62 (color), as "Hammamet et sa mosquée".
Eva-Maria Triska. "Die Quadratbilder Paul Klees—ein Beitrag zur Analyse formaler Ausdrucksmittel in seinem Werk und seiner Theorie. Mit einem Exkurs zur Ableitung von Klees Farbenlehre." PhD diss., Universität Wien, 1980, pp. 10–14, 54–55, 65, pl. 6.
Beeke Sell Tower. Klee and Kandinsky in Munich and at the Bauhaus. PhD diss.Ann Arbor, 1981, pp. 94–95, 292 n. 11, fig. 24.
Charles Werner Haxthausen. Paul Klee: The Formative Years. PhD diss., Columbia University. 1981, pp. 446–52, 454, fig. 137, calls it "Hammamet with the Mosque".
Christian Geelhaar. Paul Klee: Life and Work. Woodbury, N. Y., 1982, pp. 21–22, fig. 15 [German ed., Cologne, 1974, pp. 29–30, ill.], as "Hammamet with Mosque".
Ernst-Gerhard Güse, ed. Die Tunisreise: Klee, Macke, Moilliet. Exh. cat., Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte. Münster, 1982, p. 142, ill. and ill. p. 56.
Claude Frontisi. "A propos d'une aquarelle de Paul Klee... (Syntagma anatomicum)." Image et Signification. Paris, February 1983, pp. 250–51, ill., erroneously dates it 1918.
Margareta Benz-Zauner. Werkanalytische Untersuchungen zu den Tunesien-Aquarellen Paul Klees. Frankfurt, 1984, pp. 8, 47, 49–52, 75, 79, 85, 163, 171, 174, 188, 192, pl. 13.
Jim M. Jordan. Paul Klee and Cubism. Princeton, 1984, pp. 117, 126–27, 135–36, 139, colorpl. II, calls it "Hammamet with the Mosque".
Sabine Rewald in "Twentieth Century Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1984–1985. New York, 1985, pp. 52–53, ill. (color).
Kay Larson. "The Met's Modern Movement." New York Magazine (August 26, 1985), ill. p. 98 (color).
Gary Tinterow et al. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 8, Modern Europe. New York, 1987, p. 122, colorpl. 99.
Wolfgang Kersten. Paul Klee. "Zerstorung, der Konstruktion zuliebe?". Ed. Heinrich Klotz. Marburg, 1987, pp. 13–17, 51, 96–98, 143 n. 45, pp. 146, 153, fig. 1 and ill. p. 13 (image reconstructed showing paper strip at top edge along the bottom).
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. 64–67, 271, 317, ill. (color, overall and detail, and bw).
Philippe Comte. Klee. [Paris], 1989, pp. 21, 56, 58, pl. 72, calls it "Hammamet et sa mosquée" and refers to it as the first work painted from memory after Klee's Tunisian trip.
Robin Stemp. "Artist as Transmitter." Artist (September 1989), ill. p. 18 (color).
Claude Frontisi. Klee. Anatomie d'Aphrodite. Le polyptyque démembré. Paris, 1990, pp. 25–28, fig. 14.
Rainer Crone. "Cosmic Fragments of Meaning: On the Syllables of Paul Klee." Paul Klee: Legends of the Sign. New York, 1991, pp. 22–27, 30, fig. 5, as "Hammamet with Mosque" in the text and "Hammamet with Its Mosque" in the caption.
Jenny Anger. "Book Reviews: How Many Klees Today?" Revue d'art canadienne/ Canadian Art Review 18, no. 1/2 (1991), p. 106.
Ulrich Bischoff. Paul Klee. Munich, 1992, p. 30.
Marc Le Bot. Paul Klee. [Paris], 1992, p. 75, ill. p. 67 (color), erroneously locates it in the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Wolfgang Kersten and Osamu Okuda. Paul Klee. Im Zeichen der Teilung. Exh. cat., Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen. Düsseldorf, 1995, pp. 47, 49, 76 n. 10, list it as having been entered by Klee into his oeuvre catalogue no earlier than 1916.
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. 246.
Jenny Anger. "Modernism and the Gendering of Paul Klee." PhD diss., Brown University, 1997, vol. 1, p. 205.
Josef Helfenstein and Christian Rümelin, ed. Paul Klee: Catalogue Raisonné. Ed. Paul Klee Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts, Berne. Vol. 2, 1913–1918. New York, 2000, pp. 158, 205, no. 1302, ill., as "Hammamet mit der Moschee (Hammamet with the Mosque)".
Will Grohmann. Der Maler Paul Klee. 4th ed. (1st ed., 1966). Cologne, 2003, pp. 16, 54, 118, no. 3, ill. p. 55 (color) [German ed. of Ref. Grohmann 1967].
Jenny Anger. Paul Klee and the Decorative in Modern Art. Cambridge, England, 2004, pp. 146, 233, calls it "Hammamet with the Mosque".
Olivier Berggruen inThe Klee Universe. Ed. Dieter Scholz and Christina Thomson. Exh. cat., Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin. Ostfildern, 2008, p. 82.
Emile Langui inUrvater: Histoire d'une collection. Oostkamp, Belgium, 2013, p. 87, ill. p. 100 (color).
Michael Baumgartner inThe Journey to Tunisia, 1914: Paul Klee, August Macke, Louis Moilliet. Ed. Zentrum Paul Klee. Exh. cat., Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern. Ostfildern, 2014, pp. 126 n. 49, p. 320, no. 39, ill. p. 156 (color), calls it "Hammamet with the Mosque"; states that it was purchased from the artist in 1914 by Hermann Probst.
Sidonie Lemeux-Fraitot. L'orientalisme. Paris, 2015, ill. p. 395 (color).
Roger Benjamin. "My pilgrimage to the site of Paul Klee's Hammamet with Its Mosque." theconversation.com. September 7, 2022, ill. (color).
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