September 1, 2016–January 2, 2017
Installation location: The Met Breuer, 5th Floor
An installation of works from The Berggruen Klee Collection—the largest collection of works by Paul Klee in the United States—is on view at The Met Breuer through December 31, 2016. Humor and Fantasy—The Berggruen Paul Klee Collection 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 (1879–1940) 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 and established The Met as 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 1940. 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 one of Klee's colleagues at the Bauhaus.
Humor and Fantasy—The Berggruen Paul Klee Collection is organized by Sabine Rewald, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Curator for Modern Art in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Museum mounted an exhibition of the entire collection in 1988, Paul Klee: The Berggruen Klee Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. During the intervening nearly 30 years, Rewald has curated many small thematic exhibitions from the collection.
Sabine Rewald's candid interview with the artist's only son, Felix Klee—first published in the 1988 exhibition catalogue—has been reprinted on the occasion of the exhibition. It will be available at The Met Breuer.
The 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.
The exhibition is featured on The Met website, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using #PaulKlee #MetBreuer.
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Updated October 18, 2016
Image: Paul Klee. German (born Switzerland), Münchenbuchsee 1879-1940 Muralto-Locarno. Ventriloquist and Crier in the Moor. 1923. Watercolor and transferred printing ink on paper, bordered with ink, mounted on cardboard. The Berggruen Klee Collection, 1984. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art