Paul Klee (Swiss, 1879-1940)
Oil, tempera and watercolor on plaster grounded gauze mounted on cardboard 
21-1/2 x 13-3/4 in. (54.6 x 34.9 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection 
Accession Number:
© Norton Simon Museum 
Not on View

Although known for its wit and buoyancy, Klee's work shows a wide and complex range of emotions. Here a "figure," consisting of a head with an arm and a leg, is frozen in space, swimming through an opaque and heavy atmosphere. An amorphous black shape is floating on the left; is this the reason for the figure's terrified expression? Overhead hovers a form that may be a mountain or a tent, either the sought haven that is the refuge or the threat from which the figure flees. In contrast to the scene's ominous overtones, the dominant colors are soft pinks, mauves, and gray-blues; the principal components are defined with a delicate brush-stroked hatching in brown watercolor, which belies the terrified (or terrifying) expression of the main figure.


The artist, consigned in 1930 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.

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