First Drawing for "Specter of a Genius"
Paul Klee (Swiss, 1879-1940)
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. In this self-portrait, Klee employs his distinctive line. With it, the artist disregards spatial recession and depth completely, creating lines that cross and overlap to describe bodies, clothes, facial features and even undergarments.


  • Artist Name: Paul Klee (Swiss, 1879-1940)
  • Title: First Drawing for "Specter of a Genius"
  • Date: 1922
  • Medium: Ink on laid paper mounted on thin cardboard
  • Dimensions: sheet: 14-3/8 x 7-5/8 in. (36.5 x 19.4 cm); mount: 20-1/8 x 12-7/8 in. (51.1 x 32.7 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection
  • Accession Number: P.1953.023
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Museum

Object Information

Paul Klee 1879-1940: A Restrospective Exhibition [organized by The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Pasadena Art Museum]

  • Pasadena, Pasadena Art Museum, 1967-02-21 to 1967-02-04
  • San Francisco Museum of Art, 1967-04-13 to 1967-05-14
  • Columbus Museum of Art, 1967-05-25 to 1967-06-25
  • Cleveland Museum of Art, 1967-07-05 to 1967-08-13
  • Kansas City, William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art, 1967-09-01 to 1967-09-30
  • Baltimore Museum of Art, 1967-10-24 to 1967-11-19
  • St. Louis, Washington University, Gallery of Art, 1967-12-03 to 1968-01-05
  • Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1968-01-15 to 1968-02-15

Paul Klee Memorial Exhibition [organized by MOMA]

  • San Francisco Museum of Art, 1941-04-14 to 1941-05-05

The Galka E. Scheyer Collection

  • Mills College Art Gallery, 1961-01-10 to 1961-02-19

Paul Klee: An Exhibition from the Galka E. Scheyer Collection of the Pasadena Art Museum

  • University of California, Berkeley Art Museum, 1962-05-03 to 1962-05-27

Paul Klee

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1986-06-05 to 1987-06-28

50 years bauhaus

  • Stuttgart, Wurttembergischer Kunstverein, 1968-05-05 to 1968-07-28
  • Royal Academy of Arts (Great Britain), 1968-09-19 to 1968-10-27
  • Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 1968-11-30 to 1969-01-01
  • Paris, Musee National d'Art Moderne, 1969-04-01 to 1969-06-22
  • Illinois Institute of Technology, 1969-08-25 to 1969-09-26
  • Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, 1969-12-05 to 1970-02-01
  • Pasadena Art Museum, 1970-03-16 to 1970-04-26
  • Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, 1970 to 1971
  • Tokyo, National Museum of Modern Art, 1971 to 1971

The Art of Paul Klee

  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1960-04-12 to 1960-05-08

Paul Klee: Fifty Paintings, Drawings and Prints from the Galka E. Scheyer Collection

  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1959-10-24 to 1959-12-06
  • Minneapolis, University of Minnesota, University Gallery, 1960-01-04 to 1960-02-08
  • Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, 1960-03 to 1960-04

Gaze: Portraiture After Ingres

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2009-10-30 to 2010-04-05

Permanent and Loan Collection, 1973

  • Pasadena Museum of Modern Art, 1973-01-30 to 1973-12-31
  • Paul Klee, p. 24
  • Paul Klee, p. 31
  • Grohmann, Will, Paul Klee: Handzeichnungen 1921-1930, 1934, p. 19
  • Grohmann, Will, Paul Klee (1879-1940), 1956, pl. 4
  • Klee, Felix, Paul Klee: Leben und Werk in Documenten, 1960, p. 77
  • Huggler, Max, Paul Klee: Die Malerei als Blick in den Kosmos, 1969, p. 11
  • The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection, Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena, 1976, no. 298 p. 124
  • Pierce, James Smith, Paul Klee and Primitive Art, 1976, pp. 25, 126
  • Burnett, David R., Art International, 1977, pp. 15-17
  • Rosenthal, Mark, Paul Klee and the Arrow, 1979, fig. 52 pp. 66, 254
  • Vishny, Michele, Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Art, 1985, p. 151
  • Paul Klee Catalogue Raisonné, Volume 3, 1919-1922, 1999, no. 3017
  • Barnett, Vivian Endicott, The Blue Four Collection at the Norton Simon Museum, 2002, no. 326 p. 306
  • Grohmann, Will, Paul Klee, 2003, p. 63

Additional Artwork by Artist

Absorption Paul Klee 1919
Arabian Bride Paul Klee 1924
Galloping Horses Paul Klee 1912

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