Indepth Arts News: |
"Paul Klee: The Nature of Creation"
2002-01-17 until 2002-04-01
A major exhibition of paintings, watercolours and drawings by the artist Paul Klee is to
open at the Hayward Gallery in January. The exhibition, The Nature of Creation,
curated by Berlin-based art historian Robert Kudielka and artist Bridget Riley, brings
together a sharp historical perspective and an artist’s eye. It examines, for the first
time, Klee’s work from the perspective of his own thinking and reveals his seminal role
in the development of 20th century art. Over 90 of Klee’s most important works from
private and public collections worldwide, many never before seen in the UK, are
presented in a single showing at the Hayward Gallery.
Paul Klee (1879 – 1940) is one of the great masters of modern art. Widely known for
the magical quality and spontaneity of his intimate paintings and drawings, he is
comparable only to Picasso in his extraordinary output and his influence on other
artists. The Nature of Creation traces the development of Klee’s rich visual language
not as a single line of enquiry but as series of movements, counter-movements and
interconnections. During his lifetime Klee produced close to 10,000 works, ranging
freely between the abstract and the figurative. His paintings and drawings are
inventive, often humorous and with allusions to music, dreams and poetry. Klee is
perhaps best known for his vibrant colour compositions, cosmic metaphors and surreal
figures in fantastic landscapes. The exhibition goes beyond the apparent spontaneity
and simplicity of these much-loved works to reveal his profound understanding of
colour, line, rhythm and space.
During his journey to Tunisia in 1914, Klee wrote in his journal, ‘Colour has taken
possession of me...I am a painter’. The earliest works in the exhibition date from this
period, including Red and White Cupolas, 1914. Klee’s concept of ‘taking a line for a
walk’ is illustrated in his playful and fluid paintings and drawings of the early 1920s,
which so inspired the Surrealists. The Bauhaus years show Klee’s mastery of simple
pictorial elements to create sophisticated compositions which parallel the generative
forces of nature. The exhibition includes masterpieces representing Klee’s formal
divisionism known as the ‘pointillist’ works, and his profound interest in the relationship
between painting and music. It draws to a close with the grand rhythmic paintings of
the late 1930s.
Der Bote des Herbstes, 1922
(Harbinger of Autumn).
Watercolour and pen, mounted on card.Yale
University Art Gallery,
Gift of the Collection Societe Anonyme
copyright DACS 2002