Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen opens 100 x Paul Klee Paintings and their Stories

Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen presents 100 x Paul Klee Paintings and their Stories, on view September 29, 2012 – February, 10, 2013.

Paul Klee Der L-Platz im Bau, 1923,11, Aquarell und Bleistift auf Kreidegrundierung auf Zeitungspapier auf Karton, 40,7 x 51,8 cm, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen

The Paul Klee collection of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen is among the most comprehensive ensembles of work by this multifaceted artist anywhere in Germany. Never before have all 100 Klees been presented together publicly in Düsseldorf. This singular opportunity to present the collection as a whole to art-lovers is generating numerous fresh insights. Klee, who was born in 1879, taught at the Düsseldorf Art Academy in the early 1930s – until he emigrated in the late 1930s under pressure from the National Socialist dictatorship. Klee died in Switzerland in 1940.

The core of the Düsseldorf inventory consists of 88 works which were acquired by the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia in 1960 from the US-American art collector and steel manufacturer David Thompson in a sale brokered by the Swiss art dealer Ernst Beyeler. Today, the collection includes 100 works, and represents a major attraction both regionally and internationally.

At the Kunstsammlung, all of Klee’s creative phases are well-represented. The spectrum extends from the reverse glass painting entitled Bildnis der Frau v. Sinner, Bern (Portrait of Frau v. Sinner, Bern; 1906), which still betrays the influence of Jugendstil, all the way to Klee’s late works on paper, including the drawing scharfes Wort (Harsh Word), executed in 1940, the year of his death. The works are presented in the sequence of their execution, and are distributed throughout the three galleries of the main floor of the Ständehaus. The presentation commences with drawings dating from after 1900. Works executed around 1914 reflect Klee’s experiences during his legendary trip to Tunisia. Precisely composed paintings shed light on the oils he began producing in 1919. Other works, among them Polyphone Strömungen (Polyphonic Streams; 1929), date from the period characterized by a geometric and Constructivist approach, during which Klee was an instructor at the “State School of Design,” known as the Bauhaus. Drawings and oil paintings in a simplified, cryptic symbolic language represent the final stage of Klee’s creative production.

The presentation at the K21 offers a wealth of information. A special section of the exhibition is devoted to detailed explanations of selected works. One special focus is the involvement of the art dealers through whose hands these works passed. The watercolor Erinnerung an einen Garten (Memory of a Garden; 1914), for example, is among the sheets sold by the Berlin art dealer Herwarth Walden (1878–1941). Beginning in 1910, Walden edited the journal Der Sturm (The Storm), and directed the art gallery bearing the same name. Between 1913 and 1921, he organized more than 10 exhibitions devoted to Klee’s works, and produced art prints and postcards based on his works.

Curator: Anette Kruszynski

For information visit www.kunstsammlung.de

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