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Memory of a Bird, 1932

Paul Klee

Swiss, 1879-1940
Watercolor and pencil on laid paper
12-3/8 x 18-7/8 in. (31.4 x 47.9 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection
© Norton Simon Museum

Not on view

After a decade of teaching at the Bauhaus school in Germany, Paul Klee left the venerable institution in 1931 to dedicate more time to painting. At that time, Klee was developing his own take on Neo-Impressionism, and his pointillist methods employed the same natural forms that had served as his subject matter until this point. Rarely a purely abstract painter like his friend and colleague Vasily Kandinsky, Klee instead used nature as the basis for his poetic works. In Memory of a Bird, created at the height of his interest in Pointillism, Klee suggests the shape of the animal through the absence of watercolor. The cream of the paper provides the color and shape for the central form, while the surface is covered in multicolored squares and rectangles. The countless rows of dots remain secondary to the subject, and Klee’s command over the subtleties of color supports the serenity of the image overall.

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