Comedians' Handbill

Artist: Paul Klee (German (born Switzerland), Münchenbuchsee 1879–1940 Muralto-Locarno)

Date: 1938

Medium: Gouache on newsprint mounted on cardboard

Dimensions: 21 1/2 × 14 1/4 in. (54.6 × 36.2 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: The Berggruen Klee Collection, 1984

Accession Number: 1984.315.57


In tune with the motto "the medium is the message," Klee designed this handbill on a sheet of newspaper that he had covered with caramel-colored gouache. Correcting here and there the figures' contours, he filled the spaces between them with bone-colored gouache. Touches of white and pink gouache add animation. Here in these thick-stemmed, black pictographs, Klee makes his abbreviated black figures from the previous year even thicker. Leaping into our vision as boldly as an advertisement, these signs symbolize syncopated movement, frolicking creatures, and stick figures.