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At the time around 1919, after his experiences in the 1st World War and his first successes in the art market, Paul Klee took up the theme of personal awareness and self-reflection in numerous self-portraits. The best known of these is the pencil drawing «Absorbtion». Klee’s theme here was less the reflection on the role of the artist and more a se…
 
You would not want to meet Paul Klee’s "hungry girl" from 1939 in a dark alley at night. It shows a girl as a tooth-baring beast with glaring eyes. Nothing remains of a human being, let alone a sweet little girl. Its whole appearance is animal-like, even down to the little lines that Klee uses for the depiction of the pupils. Particularly in his la…
 
The doll with purple ribbons appears strange. The androgynous mixed being seems to float in space as though directed by an invisible hand. For the first time in Klees work a humanlike figure is shown as a marionette, a motive which in his later work gained great importance. The doll behaves according to her own rules of play. Completely weightless …
 
Like Picasso, Klee was also seeking for simple, modern means of expression. But unlike Picasso, who was impressed by the magical charm of «primitive» sculpture, Klee discovered the original sources of art in his own childrens drawings. Initially he approached a reduction of form cautiously. In later years he developed an intentional naivety into hi…
 
Paul Klee only rarely took an interest in perspectival constructions of spaces, architectures and places. Very early in his work, rather than traditional central perspective, he opted for free methods of construction which were inspired above all by Cubist ideas of composition, but which also took them further. Another source of inspiration lies in…
 
Depictions of nature appear in Paul Klee’s work from his earliest drawings in the sketchbooks of his youth to the last year of his life. Nature, growth and plants in general are a core theme in Klee’s thought and artistic work. In his 1925 essay «Ways of Studying Nature» Klee sums up his thoughts about nature: «For the artist, dialogue with nature …
 
Paul Klee drew this «Forgetful angel» in 1939 with very few pencil lines. It is one of over 35 depictions of angels from the last years of the artist’s life and work. In their appearance they correspond entirely to our traditional ideas of gentle, winged creatures, even though Klee reduces the wings to shapes narrowing to points and also sometimes …
 
This large-format drawing on packing paper is one of the last works that Paul Klee produced. Klee’s health deteriorated in early 1940. In May he went for a spa cure in Ascona, from which he did not return. Some of his works remained incomplete, or at least untitled and unnumbered, in his studio. The work posthumously entitled «Composition with Frui…
 
In 1938, two years before his death, Klee worked intensively with writing, characters and generally sign-like pictorial elements. He produced several works with the title «Alphabet», in which a pile of letters is scattered apparently at random over the picture surface. Klee even painted one of the alphabet paintings on newspaper. In «Beginning of a…
 
This picture is the largest painting Paul Klee ever completed with the remarkable length of 176 cms. As is typical for this period Klee used newspaper which he glued onto jute. With colour paste he painted thick black stripes directly onto the paper. Only afterwards did he apply the white grounding and painted the background of pastel colours with …
 
The picture «la belle jardinière», also known as «a bourgeois ghost», is a staging of surreal amusement. The schematic figure made up of red and blue lines, ironically titled by Paul Klee, the beautiful gardener in crinoline, holds in her raised left hand a bunch of flowers.The bourgeois ghost appears as a magic shining phantom, which avoids every …
 
Even though the picture «Individualized Altimetry of Layers» was only created in 1930, it nevertheless indicates a direct relationship in its formal structure to the Egyptian water colours. The composition is divided into twelve horizontal strips, called layers by Klee, which are cut through by five vertical bars. With each step, the layers are eit…
 
Misia Natanson was Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s friend and muse. He painted her portrait nine times in all. Find out more about this artist, who descended from an old aristocratic family, and the pianist from Saint Petersburg, who was the patroness of numerous other artists such as Renoir, Vallotton and Bonnard.…
 
Despite its asymmetry, Piet Mondrian's painting emanates harmony and serenity. Find out more about why the Dutch artist decided to compose only with rectangles and black lines in his paintings. From the podcast series featuring highlights of the Kunstmuseum Bern Collection.By Museum of Fine Arts Bern
 
Hans Arp and his wife Sophie Taeuber-Arp produced a number of artworks together. Find out in the video how the richly contrasting pictures mirror the relationship between the two artists. From the podcast series featuring highlights of the Kunstmuseum Bern Collection.By Museum of Fine Arts Bern
 
Adolf Wölfli, who spent many years of his life in the Waldau psychiatric clinic near Bern, created a universe of his own in drawings and writings. The wealth of lines, patterns, musical notation and script is literally mesmerizing to look at. From the podcast series featuring highlights of the Kunstmuseum Bern Collection.…
 
Find out more about why John the Baptist rebuked Herod, king of Judaea, and why the unknown painter who executed the Bernese John the Baptist Altar is called the "Carnation Master." From the podcast series featuring highlights of the Kunstmuseum Bern Collection.By Museum of Fine Arts Bern
 
On his last trip to Wales, the English painter Alfred Sisley executed a series of views of the coastline. The paintings leave an impression of eternity and, at the same time, express the singularity of the moment. From the podcast series featuring highlights of the Kunstmuseum Bern Collection.By Museum of Fine Arts Bern
 
« Fruit Harvest » clearly demonstrates the extent to which the artist, who was born in Solothurn in1868, engaged with the trends of his era. Amiet created a sgraffito of an apple harvest for the main façade of the building in 1936, long after this painting was completed. From the podcast series featuring highlights of the Kunstmuseum Bern’s collect…
 
The period in which the painting „Pomona, overripe“ was created can also be seen as a specially fertile time: As a result of his illness with progressive scleroderma Klee was only able to execute 25 works in 1936, and yet the following year was the beginning of a phase of extraordinary creative strength until his death.In the final working years fr…
 
Paul Klee entered the painting "The creator", in his oeuvre catalogue in 1934 under number 213. Next to the entry, he wrote: "not touched for several years". Klee frequently left paintings sitting in his studio for long periods, only to pull them out at the right time, rework them, or paint them over. He probably began this painting in his Dessau B…
 
Paul Klee returned to Berne, the city of his childhood and youth, on the 23rd December 1933. This was not done willingly, but was the enforced reaction to the accession to power by the National Socialists in Germany. From the beginning Paul and Lily Klee had observed the developments in Germany with unease. In Weimar and Dessau they were forced to …
 
Until December 1918 Klee is in wartime service in Gersthofen and is not released until February 1919. During the last three war years Klee experiences a productive work phase, which stands in crass antithesis to the circumstances all around. The numerous aquarelle paintings from this time are dominated by radiant colours, which are not yet subordin…
 
The view of the city turns into a play of simple square shaped areas and shades of colour casually laid upon each other. From this point it was just a small step to the water colours of pure coloured squares which were created on his return and in memory of Kairuan. In the evening Klee noted in his diary: „Colour has caught me. I do not need to sea…
 
In his black watercolours he laid layer after layer of black, almost transparent paint on the paper and in the superimposition of the layers he achieved a nuanced gradation of light and ark. In "Bucket and watering can", 1910, he continued this process in gentle watercolour tones. Here too he placed almost transparent layers of colours side by side…
 
As architecture follows certain patterns, structures and rules, mostly in geometrical forms, the structure of a painting should do the same. At first glance the motif breaks down into many coloured planes. A particular pattern slowly appears, stripes seem to run through the painting horizontally and vertically. The primary colours red, yellow and b…
 
The E is interpreted partly as an abbreviation for the Bavarian town of Ebenhausen, but in Klee’s work such a pictorial element need not necessarily assume a particular meaning. By incorporating individual letters Klee complements his pictorial trove of motifs: arrows, crescent moons, individual wheels and hieroglyphics. In this way Klee was trying…
 
Pierre Bonnard's most common motifs are brightly lit gardens and landscapes, colourful still lifes and initmate female nudes. The woman relaxing and dozing in the deckchair represents his muse, life partner and future wife Marthe. From the podcast series featuring highlights of the Kunstmuseum Bern’s collection.…
 
Alberto Giacometti is one of the most renowned sculptors of the 20th century. His "Woman from Venice I" is a figure full of contradictions: on the one hand she is upright and self-assured, but on the other she is fragile and vulnerable; her feet anchored on the ground, timeless yet contemporary, she stands for the individual that human beings by de…
 
This painting depicts the second Unspunnen Festival, which took place on 17. August 1808. The Artist attended the Festival in the Bernese Oberland in company with Madame de Stael who is standing arm in arm with an elegantly dressed gentleman in the centre of the picture. Can you find the artist herself in the painting ? From the podcast series feat…
 
August Macke was one of the renowned expressonist artists. In the year our picture was painted, he was living in Bonn, joined the "Blue Rider" group of artists in Munich and visited the painter Robert Delaunay in Paris with Franz Marc. From the podcast series featuring highlights of the Kunstmuseum Bern’s collection.…
 
Learn more about how Odysseus outwitted Achilles and also why the artist Joseph Werner was among the most important painters and sparkling personalities in 17th-century Bern. From the podcast series featuring highlights of the Kunstmuseum Bern’s collection.By Museum of Fine Arts Bern
 
The famous Bern artist Albrecht Kauw presents in his still life a rich selection of fish as we might have found served in a patrician household during his lifetime. Kauw follows Netherlandish painting in his art while depicting the lifestyle and situation of the proud Bernese landowners. From the podcast series featuring highlights of the Kunstmuse…
 
The human face is a key motif in Alexej von Jawlensky’s oeuvre. This is also true for Sinnende Frau: her gaze seems lost in the distance and to nevertheless focus on the beholder. Learn more about Alexej Jawlensky and the style of art he worked in. From the podcast series featuring highlights of the Kunstmuseum Bern’s collection.…
 
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