Paul Klee (German (born Switzerland), Münchenbuchsee 1879–1940 Muralto-Locarno)
Watercolor and transferred printing ink on paper, bordered with metallic foil, mounted on cardboard
17 3/4 × 13 3/4 in. (45.1 × 34.9 cm)
The Berggruen Klee Collection, 1987
Not on view
Inscription: Signed (lower right): Klee; dated and inscribed on cardboard (lower center): 1921/19 Der Man unter dem Birnbaum
the artist (1921–d. 1940); his widow, Lily Klee, Bern (1940–46); Paul Klee Society, later Paul Klee Foundation, Bern (1946–52); Rolf and Catherine E. Bürgi, Bern and Belp (1952–probably at least 1956); Heinz Berggruen, Paris and Berlin (1957–87; his gift to MMA)
Rome. Fondazione Memmo. "Paul Klee: La collezione Berggruen," October 11, 2006–January 7, 2007, no. 21.
Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Das Universum Klee / The Klee Universe," October 31, 2008–February 8, 2009, unnumbered cat. (p. 123; as "Der Mann unter dem Birnbaum [The Man Beneath the Pear Tree]").
Felix Klee. Paul Klee: 12 aquarelles. Paris, 1964, unpaginated, colorpl. 6.
Jean-Louis Ferrier. Paul Klee: Les années 20. Paris, 1971, ill. p. 46 and n. p. (color and bw).
Jürgen Glaesemer. Paul Klee. Handzeichnungen. Vol. 1, Kindheit bis 1920. Bern, 1973, p. 282, ill. p. 259.
Stefan Frey and Wolfgang Kersten inAlfred Flechtheim: Sammler. Kunsthändler. Verleger. 1937. Europa vor dem 2.Weltkrieg. Ed. Stephan von Wiese and Monika Flacke-Knoch. Exh. cat., Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf. Düsseldorf, 1987, pp. 82, 86, ill. p. 85, note that this composition was derived from a 1920 pencil drawing (Kunstmuseum Bern: Helfenstein and Rümelin 1999, no. 2534), copied again in a 1928 ink drawing dedicated to Klee's dealer, Alfred Flechtheim, for Flechtheim's 50th birthday (location unknown; Helfenstein and Rümelin 2001, no. 4586); interpret the man beneath the tree as Klee's first dealer, Hans Goltz, harvesting the fruits of success from Klee's art.
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. 134–35, 278, 317, ill. (color and bw), suggests sexual connotations in the ripe fruit that "mock the... yearnings" of the old man beneath the tree.
O[tto]. K. Werckmeister. The Making of Paul Klee's Career, 1914–1920. Chicago, 1989, pp. 223, 310 n. 48, relates this image to Klee's autobiographical text published for his exhibition at Hans Goltz's gallery in 1920, which included the sentence: "the great success fell into his lap like a ripe fruit'"; interprets the man beneath the tree as the artist.
Josef Helfenstein and Christian Rümelin, ed. Paul Klee: Catalogue Raisonné. Ed. Paul Klee Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts, Berne. Vol. 3, 1919–1922. New York, 1999, pp. 240, 265, no. 2610, ill., as "Der Mann unter dem Birnbaum (The Man Beneath the Pear Tree)".
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, p. 186, under no. 4586.
Dieter Scholz inThe Klee Universe. Ed. Dieter Scholz and Christina Thomson. Exh. cat., Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin. Ostfildern, 2008, pp. 114, 355, ill. p. 123 (color).
Wolfgang Kersten and Marie Kakinuma inPaul Klee: Art in the Making 1883–1940. Ed. Wolfgang Kersten, Yūko Ikeda, and Kenjin Miwa. Exh. cat., National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto. Kyoto, 2011, pp. 95–96, 98–99 n. 10, fig. 1.