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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
© Norton Simon Museum

On view

Painted in encaustic—a laborious hot-wax technique—this picture demonstrates how Klee’s approach had been transformed by his decade at the Bauhaus. Abstract design—in the pseudo-architectural forms at right, for example—and material experiment—in the use of encaustic—here replace playful figuration as the artist’s leading concerns. Klee considered this composition one of his most successful; when the dealer and collector Galka Scheyer first wrote to the artist in hopes of purchasing it, his wife responded, “He is... just as much in love with ‘Possibilities at Sea’ as you are... He considers the painting a rare work, and there is no thought of a substitute for it.”

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