“All will be Klee,” noted Paul Klee (1879–1940) in his diary at the outset of his career. And true to his word, he did indeed go on to create an unmistakable body of work, a complex and fascinating universe that justifies his status as one of the most important artists of the early 20th century.
The bizarre gaiety, fascinating ambiguity and lyrical and poetic force of expression of his works, in which the abstract and figurative are united, make him one of the greatest individualists among his modern contemporaries. At the same time, Klee was an absolute master of the universal: he understood art as being a mirror of the cosmos, whose creative principles he saw reflected in all aspects of life. The totality of his work presents itself as a universal encyclopedia of humankind, compressed into miniature: man’s progression through life, his environment, his culture and his beliefs, his various emotional worlds as well as all the creative and destructive forces that drive him.
The exhibition accompanies the visitor on a grand journey through Klee’s universe. Spread over fifteen separate thematic sections, around 250 masterpieces from all periods of his oeuvre provide a very palpable sense of Paul Klee’s pictorial cosmos. The human life cycle, from birth to death, forms the beginning and end of the tour around the exhibition. Between these two poles of existence come childhood, Eros and the role of parents as well as the various states of being such as war and sickness. Theatre and music, architecture and writing serve to highlight the many facets of cultural life. The world of animals and nature broadens the perspective on earthly forms of existence, while excursions to distant lands stake out the geographical expanse of the globe. Each chapter to the exhibition profiles Klee’s work chronologically and allows specific aspects of his biography to come to light.