Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Still Life

Artist:
Paul Klee (German (born Switzerland), Münchenbuchsee 1879–1940 Muralto-Locarno)
Date:
1927
Medium:
Oil on gypsum construction
Dimensions:
18 7/8 x 25 1/4 in. (47.9 x 64.1 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
The Berggruen Klee Collection, 1984
Accession Number:
1984.315.49
Not on view
Klee must have liked this work because, as he did in such cases, he underlined its title when he recorded it in his work catalogue. As in a playful exercise to show that "less is more," Klee simplified forms and used only primary colors and their complementaries. The cone, goblet, half lemon, pitcher, cut onion, piece of paper, Easter egg and cup, and chalice and dice showing the figure three are arranged equally distant from each other as upon a stage. The painted pattern of the lacy curtains seems incised with a sharp instrument into the uneven, dark red, crusty surface. One might be looking at a picture painted on mat stone. In fact, Klee painted this work on a thick slab of gypsum that he had reinforced with chicken wire and then encased in a deep wooden frame.
Inscription: Signed, dated and numbered (upper center): Klee 1927 K8
[Galka Scheyer, Los Angeles, probably 1928–until 1930; sold in July 1930, for $750, to Eaton]; Marjorie Eaton, San Francisco (1930–at least 1932; possibly sold through Scheyer to Mack); Charlotte Mack, San Francisco (by 1939–at least 1941); Mrs. de Schulthess, Los Angeles; Heinz Berggruen, Paris and Berlin (1959–84; his gift to MMA)

Hollywood. Braxton Gallery. "The Blue Four: Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Paul Klee," May 1–15, 1930, no. 3.

San Francisco. California Palace of the Legion of Honor. "The Blue Four: Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Paul Klee," April 23–May 8, 1931, no. 30 (lent by Marjorie Eaton).

Oakland Art Gallery. "The Blue Four: Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Paul Klee," August–September 14, 1931, no. 7 (lent by Miss Marjorie Eaton).

Arts Club of Chicago. "The Blue Four: Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Paul Klee," April 1–15, 1932, no. 127 (lent by M. Eaton).

Hollywood Gallery of Modern Art. "Paul Klee," July 31–August 1935, no catalogue.

Oakland Art Gallery. "Paul Klee," September 1–29, 1935, no catalogue.

San Francisco Museum of Art. "Contemporary Art. Paintings, Watercolors and Sculpture Owned in the San Francisco Bay Region," January 18–February 5, 1940, no. 160 (lent by Mrs. Adolph Mack, San Francisco).

San Francisco Museum of Art. "Paul Klee: Memorial Exhibition," April 14–May 5, 1941 (lent by Mrs. Adolph Mack) [ill. on cover of addenda to the exhibition of The Museum of Modern Art].

Los Angeles. Stendahl Art Galleries. "Paul Klee: Memorial Exhibition," May 8–18, 1941 (lent by Mrs. Adolph Mack) [ill. on cover of addenda to the exhibition of The Museum of Modern Art].

Paris. Berggruen et Cie. "Paul Klee. Les années 20," May–July 1971, no. 55 (as "Stilleben [Töpfe, Frucht, Osterei, Gardinen] (Nature Morte [Pots, Fruits, Œuf de Pâques, Rideaux])").

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Paul Klee," February 12–May 5, 1987, unnumbered cat. (p. 230; as "Still Life [Jars, Fruit, Easter Egg, and Curtains]").

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paul Klee: The Berggruen Klee Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 6–July 31, 1988, unnumbered cat. (p. 216).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Late Klee," December 6, 1996–April 13, 1997, no catalogue.

New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Objects of Desire: The Modern Still Life," May 25–August 26, 1997, unnumbered cat. (pl. 76; as "Still Life [Jars, Fruit, Easter Egg, and Curtains]").

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Klee Paintings," September 14, 1999–March 12, 2000, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Klee's Best," May 24–September 22, 2002, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Klee: The Late Years," March 19–June 27, 2004, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Klee: His Years at the Bauhaus (1921–1931)," November 19, 2004–April 3, 2005, no catalogue.

Washington. Phillips Collection. "Klee and America," June 16–September 10, 2006, unnumbered cat. (pl. 51; as "Stilleben [Töpfe, Frucht, Osterei, Gardinen, Etc.] (Still Life [Pots, Fruit, Easter Egg, Curtains, Etc.])").

Houston. Menil Collection. "Klee and America," October 6, 2006–January 14, 2007, unnumbered cat.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Late Klee," October 18, 2012–March 31, 2013, no catalogue.

Jean-Louis Ferrier. Paul Klee: Les années 20. Paris, 1971, ill. pp. 86–87 and n.p. (color and bw).

Christian Geelhaar. Paul Klee and the Bauhaus. Bath, 1973, pp. 107–8, 171, colorpl. 73, calls it "Still Life (Pots, Fruit, Easter egg, Curtains, etc.)" and locates it in the collection of Heinz Berggruen, Paris.

Sabine Rewald. Paul Klee: The Berggruen Klee Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1988, pp. 216–17, 285, 318, ill. (color and bw).

Alain Bonfand. Paul Klee, l'oeil en trop. Paris, 1988, vol. 1, pp. 54, 120; vol. 2, colorpl. 16, calls it "Nature morte (pots, fruits, œuf de Pâques, rideaux, etc.)" and locates it still in a private collection, Paris.

Peter Vergo. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection: Twentieth-century German Painting. London, 1992, pp. 225, 229, fig. 2, discusses its similarity to "Omega 5 (Traps)" (1927; HR 4509) and notes that the same dice appears in "Still Life with Dice" (1923; HR 3115), both in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.

Young-Jou Kang. "La Problématique du signe dans les oeuvres de Paul Klee." PhD diss., Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, 1995, pp. 221, 224, 226–27, 242–44, 250, pl. 109.

Alain Bonfand. Paul Klee: Le geste en sursis. [Paris], 1995, pp. 35–36, 92 n. 29, lists it erroneously as still in a private collection, Paris.

Wolfgang Kersten and Osamu Okuda. Paul Klee. Im Zeichen der Teilung. Exh. cat., Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen. Düsseldorf, 1995, p. 189, as "Stilleben (Töpfe, Frucht, Osterei und Gardinen)".

Margit Rowell. Objects of Desire: The Modern Still Life. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1997, pp. 139, 222, colorpl. 76.

Naomi Sawelson-Gorse in The Blue Four: Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, and Klee in the New World. Ed. Vivian Endicott Barnett and Josef Helfenstein. Exh. cat., Kunstmuseum Bern. Cologne, 1997, p. 54, notes that it was purchased by Eaton from Scheyer in July 1930, adding that it is uncertain when Eaton sold it and whether it was sold directly to Mack or through Scheyer to Mack.

Josef Helfenstein and Christian Rümelin, ed. Paul Klee: Catalogue Raisonné. Ed. Paul Klee Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts, Berne. Vol. 5, 1927–1930. New York, 2001, pp. 42, 56, no. 4231, ill. (bw and color), as "Stilleben (Töpfe, Frucht, Osterei, Gardinen etc.) [Still Life (Pots, Fruit, Easter Egg, Curtains etc.)]".

Henriette Mentha in Paul Klee: The Year 1927. Bern, [2002], pp. 90–91, ill. (color), calls it "Still Life (pots, fruit, Easter egg, curtains, etc.)".

Bradford Epley and Christa Haiml in Klee and America. Ed. Josef Helfenstein and Elizabeth Hutton Turner. Exh. cat., Neue Galerie, New York. Houston, 2006, pp. 258, 260, note that Klee painted the wooden strip frame to correspond with areas of color in this painting, adding that the original frame was retained when this painting entered the Berggruen collection.

Osamu Okuda in Klee and America. Ed. Josef Helfenstein and Elizabeth Hutton Turner. Exh. cat., Neue Galerie, New York. Houston, 2006, p. 300, colorpl. 51.

Charles W. Haxthausen in Klee and America. Ed. Josef Helfenstein and Elizabeth Hutton Turner. Exh. cat., Neue Galerie, New York. Houston, 2006, p. 165, referring to the list of works owned by Mack as published in a 1940 Buchholz Gallery catalogue [see archive file], appears to surmise that this work was purchased from Scheyer.



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