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Possibilities at Sea, 1932

Paul Klee

Swiss, 1879-1940
Encaustic and sand on canvas
38-1/4 x 37-5/8 in. (97.2 x 95.6 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection
P.1953.067
© Norton Simon Museum

On view

Klee transformed spatial elements into dynamic movement freed from gravity. Here he uses the stylistic device of a ruled construction he called "kinetic variations" to represent a red and white sailboat that floats on the waving water between the sun and the moon. Klee frequently used arrows to facilitate the reading of a composition. He explained that his symbolic arrows were the expressive movements of thought, associated with the essential aspect of the human spirit. Here they act as both formal markers emphasizing and balancing certain parts of the composition, and as forces of nature (wind and gravity) at work on the boat. As the title suggests, this dynamism is only possible on the water.

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