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
Paul Klee Memorial Exhibition [organized by MOMA]
- San Francisco Museum of Art, 1941-04-14 to 1941-05-05
Klee, Felix, Paul Klee: Leben und Werk in Documenten, p. 77
Paul Klee Catalogue Raisonné, Volume 3, 1919-1922, no. 3017
Huggler, Max, Paul Klee: Die Malerei als Blick in den Kosmos, p. 11
Rosenthal, Mark, Paul Klee and the Arrow, fig. 52 pp. 66, 254
The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection, Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena, no. 298 p. 124
Barnett, Vivian Endicott, The Blue Four Collection at the Norton Simon Museum, no. 326 p. 306
Grohmann, Will, Paul Klee: Handzeichnungen 1921-1930, p. 19
Grohmann, Will, Paul Klee, p. 63
Grohmann, Will, Paul Klee (1879-1940), pl. 4
Burnett, David R., Art International, pp. 15-17
Pierce, James Smith, Paul Klee and Primitive Art, pp. 25, 126
Vishny, Michele, Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Art, p. 151
Paul Klee, p. 31
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