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Exhibitions/ Humor and Fantasy—The Berggruen Paul Klee Collection

Humor and Fantasy—The Berggruen Paul Klee Collection

September 1, 2016–January 2, 2017

Exhibition Overview

This installation of works from the Berggruen Klee Collection—the largest collection of Klee in the United States—features some 70 works from this collection, which spans the artist's entire career, from his student days in Bern in the 1890s to his death in 1940 at the age of 60.

In 1984, Heinz Berggruen and his family donated 90 works by Paul Klee to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. These 11 paintings, 71 watercolors, and 8 black-and-white drawings constitute one of the most important gifts in the history of the Museum. Overnight The Met became a major center for the study of this German artist. The earliest work in the collection is a precisely penciled view of Bern drawn in 1893, when Klee was 13 years old, and the latest is a gouache painted in the year of his death. More than half of the works in the collection were executed during the painter's most active years, 1921 through 1931, when he taught at the Bauhaus, first in Weimar and then in Dessau. Marcel Breuer, the architect of The Met Breuer, was also a faculty member and colleague of Klee's at the Bauhaus.


An Interview with Felix Klee

Black-and-white photo of the artist Paul Klee sitting on a balcony while his son, Felix Klee, looks at a painting

Read a 1986 interview (PDF) with Paul Klee's son, Felix, conducted by exhibition curator Sabine Rewald, in which Felix reminisces about life with his father.

This reprint of the interview with Felix Klee was made possible by the generosity of the late Heinz Berggruen's children and their spouses: John and Gretchen, Helen, Olivier and Desiree, and Nicolas Berggruen.

Exhibition image: Paul Klee (German [born Switzerland], 1879–1940). Ventriloquist and Crier in the Moor (detail), 1923. Watercolor and transferred printing ink on laid paper, bordered with black and blue ink, mounted on light cardboard; 16 1/2 x 11 5/8 in. (41.9 x 29.5 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Berggruen Klee Collection, 1984 (1984.315.35). "An Interview with Felix Klee" image: Paul and Felix Klee on the balcony of the apartment at Kistlerweg 6, 1934. Photograph by Bobby Aichinger. Collection Felix Klee