Gouache and tempera
Support: Newspaper tipped onto cream(3) wove paper (artist's mount)
Sheet: 35.2 x 29 cm (13 7/8 x 11 7/16 in.); Secondary Support: 64.6 x 49.3 cm (25 7/16 x 19 7/16 in.)
Bequest of Lockwood Thompson 1992.278
Catalogue raisonné: Helfenstein and Rümelin 6961
Shortly before this drawing was made, Paul Klee was exiled from Germany to his native Switzerland due to the political turmoil that led to World War II.
This drawing belongs to a series of large format works with bold colors, thick painterly lines, and pictograph formations that Paul Klee created late in his career. The period during which they were made was marked by anxiety for the artist, as political turmoil grew in Europe during the 1930s. To suggest this experience, Klee painted on a sheet of newspaper, allowing the printed text to intermingle with his own sign-like marks. The article visible here, for example, discusses the Spanish civil war. The figures that dominate the work more subtly suggest this crisis, including a large face with heavy eyelids and an enigmatic smile depicted in layers of yellow paint and several dancing or running figures in the foreground delineated by areas left unpainted.
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