Static-Dynamic Gradation

Artist: Paul Klee (German (born Switzerland), Münchenbuchsee 1879–1940 Muralto-Locarno)

Date: 1923

Medium: Oil and gouache on paper bordered with gouache, watercolor, and ink, mounted on cardboard

Dimensions: 17 1/8 × 11 1/2 in. (43.5 × 29.2 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: The Berggruen Klee Collection, 1987

Accession Number: 1987.455.12


While teaching at the Bauhaus, first in Weimar (1919-25) and then in Dessau (1925-32), Klee created many works that related to the subject of his courses. This watercolor reflects the artist's preoccupation with color relationships. Here, outer dark colors surround pure luminous ones in the center. In this work Klee devised a systematic movement, progressing from dark-hued brownish squares, which he dubbed "static," toward the clear-colored ones, which he called "dynamic" by virtue of the contrasts they offer.