Paul Klee intimate and magical

Paul Klee intimiste et féerique

Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Collection Berggruen Klee
Paul Klee, “where are the eggs and the good roast”, 1921

Paul Klee (1879-1940) does not really correspond to the clichés of modern art spectacular. In tone, his work has not the tonitruance of the topics covered by the futurists who are his contemporaries. Formally, even if he pursued a certain form of abstraction, his creation is far short of the impressive effects of the monumental abstract paintings in the u.s. that will arrive after his death.

The work of Klee made in small formats, and in the tone intimate. This is particularly true in the selection of this expo, bringing together 75 drawings, watercolors, and paintings that the art dealer and collector Heinz Berggruen (1914-2007) was offered in 1984 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, works that had not been presented all together since 1988. Even if his art forges links with a world of the supernatural, there is something discrete in the works of Klee. This artist seem to realize the illuminations of manuscripts-modern miniatures of magical books.

Paul Klee intimiste et féerique

Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Collection Berggruen Klee
Paul Klee, “Rhythms of red-green and violet-yellow”, 1920

And to treat of this work is intimate and magical, the museum has opted for a very restrained, minimalist, which focuses on the works. This is a presentation that could have been fed by numerous documents and historical photographs, or by juxtapositions or comparisons with works by other artists of his time… Only a few explanatory panels and come, here and there, punctuating the course of tracks readings, significant, and often show how, in a dark period, marked among other things by the war, Klee wanted to produce an abstract art sublime that would provide a form of resistance.

This exhibition unfolds a bit like the reverse of the one dedicated to Picasso in the summer of 2018 at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, expo, which nevertheless had in common the interest of modern art to a certain schematization, abstraction of forms, but also for the primitive. As much as that of Klee is sleek, minimalist, almost austere, as the one dedicated to Picasso was in the accumulation of works as well as links to aesthetic and historical value. Despite a structure of presentation which is rather conventional, chronological, this is a show that will captivate. Just as the expo Picasso, it is possible to see how the art of the Twentieth century was able to draw on non-western cultures.

Art does not reproduce the visible, it makes visible. The wonderful and the schematic are specific to the imaginary y are given in advance and, at the same time, expressed with great precision.

— Paul Klee

During a trip in Tunisia with the painter August Macke, Klee was inspired by the geometric forms of moorish architecture, but also the colours of the landscape. Klee walked towards a glorification of the very modern to the impact of the color. But it is also an art that has been able to tap into the primitivism of the creative attitude of the children. The blurb talks about — without condescension — the trait childish ” as a constant of his work. A modern attitude which, in the 1930s, won him, as well as other artists, to be presented by the nazis as a “degenerate” artist, his works being exhibited alongside creations produced by ” mentally ill “. As explained by many art historians, including René Passeron during the retrospective Klee in 1969 at the Museum of modern art in Paris, his work is a synthesis of the wonderful of the surrealists (with whom he exhibited in 1925 in Paris) and the schematic defended by the abstract…

Re-read the story

You will enjoy this visit to the NGC to go for a ride in the section of the canadian art and aboriginal to see four short videos grouped under the title Souvenir. Directed by filmmakers of First Nations, these movies are appropriate, “remix” of the old pictures of films made by the NFB on the Aboriginal people.

Jeff Barnaby, Michelle Latimer, Kent Monkman and Caroline Monnet are reclaiming these images in order to offer us another point of view on their nations cree, algonquin, mi’kmaq. These works reveal how even the documentary films require interpretation and proofreading.

It should be noted, in particular, Sœurs and brothers (2015) Monkman, who makes a disturbing comparison between children treated and acculturés in the schools with the herds of bison which were exterminated. This montage of archive ends with a quote from the report of the Commission of truth and reconciliation in 2015 : “More than 6000 children have died [during their stay in residential schools]… Their bodies have not all been returned to their families. Many were buried in unmarked graves. ”

Paul Klee – The collection Berggruen of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Department at the NATIONAL gallery in Ottawa, until 17 march.


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