“Splendidly Cagey”

Work by Klee always gives me a boost. I also enjoy the critic’s sprightly accounting of it, which I excerpt here.

… David Zwirner [Gallery] has nabbed a heavyweight: Paul Klee, the splendidly cagey Swiss-German modernist and Bauhaus professor.

klee 1

Paul Klee’s “Signs in the Field,” from 1935, at David Zwirner. Credit Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, via David Zwirner.

… Full of wily small-scale watercolors like “Signs in the Field” (1935), with its joyously inscrutable cloud of glyphs, ovals and eyes.

klee 2

Klee’s “The Singer L. as Fiordiligi,” from 1923, at David Tunick. Credit Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, via David Tunick.

… A knockout 1923 portrait of the soprano Lilli Lehmann, goggle-eyed and adrift in a sea of beige… executed… with a unique blend of oil and watercolor… almost… a comedic double of his imposing “Angelus Novus.”

klee 3 angelus

“A storm is blowing from Paradise,” wrote [Walter] Benjamin. “It has got caught in his wings with such violence the angel can no longer close them.” (Credit: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem).


(Jason Farago, “Tefaf Brings Masterpieces (and Tulips) to the Armory,” NYTimes, 5-2-19; links to his article “How Klee’s ‘angel of history’ took flight,” BBC Culture, 4-6-16)

(c) 2019 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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2 Responses to “Splendidly Cagey”

  1. Eric Wayne says:

    I was thinking of what my favorite paintings are by Klee, and then realized they are all by Joan Miro.

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