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Two Heads, 1932

Paul Klee

Swiss, 1879-1940
Encaustic, oil (?) and pencil on canvas
31-7/8 x 33-1/2 in. (81.0 x 85.1 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection
P.1953.066
© Norton Simon Museum

On view

As if carved from a block of wood, both heads are composed of angular planes of color that ambiguously jut forward or recede into the background. The interacting planes suggest volume, yet circles and rigid horizontals and verticals defining the facial features appear to hover in front of these planes, and have the opposite effect of flattening the space. The ambiguities are not only spatial. The gender is unknown; the space is uncertain. Are we seeing two people, or two aspects of one person? The overall impression is what Klee called "fluctuating equilibrium."

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