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Maid of Saxony, 1922

Paul Klee

Swiss, 1879-1940
Oil on oil-primed muslin with metallic paper strips mounted on thin cardboard
comp: 13-5/8 x 8-1/8 in. (34.6 x 20.6 cm); mount: 15-1/8 x 9-1/4 in. (38.4 x 23.5 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection
P.1953.063
© Norton Simon Museum

Not on view

At an early age, Paul Klee was already exceptional as both a violinist and a draftsman. These two interests—music and drawing—would inform Klee’s works throughout his influential career. His unique art was founded on the basic element of the line, which he infused with a lyrical quality from the first. In fact, he preferred a graphic medium and did not take up painting until a decade into his art-making. His fantastical images display a mixed sensibility of humor, spirituality, naiveté and overall mystery, and his portraits are no different. Maid of Saxony is made of largely unmodulated areas of color, the flattened shapes create a surprising effect, in which the artist disregards spatial recession and depth completely, creating lines that cross and overlap to describe bodies, clothes, facial features and even undergarments.

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