Memory of a Bird
Paul Klee (Swiss, 1879-1940)
Not on View

After a decade of teaching at the Bauhaus school in Germany, Paul Klee left the venerable institution in 1931 to dedicate more time to painting. At that time, Klee was developing his own take on Neo-Impressionism, and his pointillist methods employed the same natural forms that had served as his subject matter until this point. Rarely a purely abstract painter like his friend and colleague Vassily Kandinsky, Klee instead used nature as the basis for his poetic works. In Memory of a Bird, created at the height of his interest in Pointillism, Klee suggests the shape of the animal through the absence of watercolor. The cream of the paper provides the color and shape for the central form, while the surface is covered in multicolored squares and rectangles. The countless rows of dots remain secondary to the subject, and Klee’s command over the subtleties of color supports the serenity of the image overall.


  • Artist Name: Paul Klee (Swiss, 1879-1940)
  • Title: Memory of a Bird
  • Date: 1932
  • Medium: Watercolor and pencil on laid paper
  • Dimensions: 12-3/8 x 18-7/8 in. (31.4 x 47.9 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection
  • Accession Number: P.1953.033
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Museum

Object Information

The artist, consigned in 1933 and later sold (by Lily Klee) in 1942 to;
Galka Scheyer;
Pasadena Art Institute, Pasadena, 1953-1954;
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, 1954-1975;
Norton Simon Museum, 1975.

The Blue Four: Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Paul Klee

  • Los Angeles, Los Angeles Museum, 1933-10-04 to 1933-10-30
  • Eye Film Institute, Oskar Fischinger, 1900-1967: Experiments in Cinematic Abstraction,2012, Fig. 9 p. 57
  • Steve Gibson, Stefan Arisona, Donna Leishman, and Atau Tanaka, Live Visuals: History, Theory, Practice,2022, p.50
  • The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection, Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena,no. 282 pp. 109, 125
  • Paul Klee, p. 29
  • Barnett, Vivian Endicott, The Blue Four Collection at the Norton Simon Museum,no. 339 pp. 326-327
  • Paul Klee: Catalogue Raisonne, Volume 6, 1931-1933,fig. 5703 p. 164, 206

Additional Artwork by Artist

Absorption Paul Klee 1919
Arabian Bride Paul Klee 1924
First Drawing for "Specter of a Genius" Paul Klee 1922

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