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Indepth Arts News:

"Paul Klee: The Nature of Creation"
2002-01-17 until 2002-04-01
Hayward Gallery
London, , UK

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.

Paul Klee
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

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