Possibilities at Sea
Paul Klee (Swiss, 1879-1940)
On View

In contrast to the playful figuration of his earlier work, Possibilities at Sea demonstrates how Klee’s approach was transformed by his decade at the Bauhaus, a leading school of art and design in Germany. Here, his interest in abstract design combines with an experimental approach to the laborious hot-wax technique known as encaustic. Klee considered this composition one of his most successful; when the dealer and collector Galka Scheyer first wrote to the artist in hopes of purchasing it, his wife responded, “He is... just as much in love with ‘Possibilities at Sea’ as you are... He considers the painting a rare work, and there is no thought of a substitute for it.”


  • Artist Name: Paul Klee (Swiss, 1879-1940)
  • Title: Possibilities at Sea
  • Date: 1932
  • Medium: Encaustic and sand on canvas
  • Dimensions: 38-1/4 x 37-5/8 in. (97.2 x 95.6 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection
  • Accession Number: P.1953.067
  • 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.

Paul Klee: a Retrospective Exhibition

  • Pasadena, Pasadena Art Museum, 1967-01-01 to 1968-12-31

Paul Klee

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1987-07-23 to 1988-05-15

Maven of Modernism: Galka Scheyer in California

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2017-04-07 to 2017-09-25

Selections from the Permanent Collection

  • Pasadena Art Museum, 1971-07-13 to 1971-09-19

Selections from the Galka E. Scheyer Collection

  • Pasadena Art Museum, 1970-09-08 to 1970-12-17

The Blue Four and Their Contemporaries

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1991-06-20 to 1992-05-24

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

The Blue Four

Paul Klee

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

The Spirit of Modernism: Galka Scheyer in the New World

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1994-11-17 to 1996-01-14

My Four Kings: Galka Scheyer and the Blue Four

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2002-12-13 to 2003-04-14
  • Haas, Robert B., Du, p. 48
  • Paul Klee, p. 30
  • Franciscono, Marcel, Arts Magazine, p. 124
  • Henry, Sara Lynn, Pantheon, fig. 49 p. 159
  • Armitage, Merle, 5 Essays on Klee, 1950, p. 22
  • Geelhaar, Christian, Paul Klee and the Bauhaus, 1973, p. 150
  • Geelhaar, Christian, Paul Klee: Leben und Werk, 1974, pp. 72, 73, 74
  • The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection, Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena, 1976, no. 285
  • Rosenthal, Mark, Paul Klee and the Arrow, 1979, fig. 93 pp. 116-119, 296
  • Glaesemer, Jürgen, Paul Klee: Handzeichnungen II 1921-1936, 1984, pp. 225, 226, 228
  • Franciscono, Marcel, Paul Klee: His Life and Work, 1991, pp. 248-249
  • The Blue Four. Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, and Klee in the New World, 1997, no. 141 pp. 225, 353
  • Paul Klee: Catalogue Raisonne, Volume 6, 1931-1933, 2001, color fig. 5722 p. 170, 210
  • Barnett, Vivian Endicott, The Blue Four Collection at the Norton Simon Museum, 2002, no. 342 pp. 330-332
  • Linda Henderson, Bruce Clark (eds.), From Energy to Information: Representation in Science and Technology, Art and Literature, 2002, fig. 9.3 p. 199
  • Wünsche, Isabel, Galka E. Scheyer and the Blue Four: Correspondence 1924 - 1945, 2005, Plate XIII p. 340
  • Ed. Oliver Kase, Paul Klee: Construction of Mystery, 2018, Fig. 9 pp. 70-71
  • Gilbert Holzgang, Galka Scheyer : Ein Leben für Kunst und Kreativität, 2023, p. 217 (ill.)
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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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