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