Possibilities at Sea

Paul Klee (Swiss, 1879-1940)
Encaustic and sand on canvas 
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:
© Norton Simon Museum 
On View

Painted in encaustic—a laborious hot-wax technique—this picture demonstrates how Klee’s approach had been transformed by his decade at the Bauhaus. Abstract design—in the pseudo-architectural forms at right, for example—and material experiment—in the use of encaustic—here replace playful figuration as the artist’s leading concerns. 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.”


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.

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