2014 is the hundredth anniversary of the legendary trip to Tunis that the three artist friends Paul Klee, August Macke and Louis Moilliet took in April 1914.
The Zentrum Paul Klee is taking the date as an opportunity to bring this important moment in modern art back to life, and to bring together the works produced on the trip or inspired by it for the first time in a comprehensive exhibition for almost thirty years.
It is Zentrum Paul Klee’s ambitious goal to bring together as many of the three artists‘ works – now scattered across the whole world – and to reveal the fascinating pictorial ‘competition’ that inspired Klee and Macke in particular to produce their supreme artistic achievements.
In the course of a stay in Tunisia that lasted just two weeks, Paul Klee produced 35 watercolours and 13 drawings, August Macke 33 watercolours and 79 drawings in three sketch books. Louis Moilliet was less productive in Tunisia, and produced his most important works during later stays in Morocco and Southern Spain. For Paul Klee Tunisia remained an important source of inspiration for a long time. He repeatedly drew inspiration from his memories of the trip or the pictures that arose from it, and even in the early 1930s he made over 20 works that refer to the event.
The Tunis trip is a key event in 20th-century art history. Since Ernst-Gerhard Güse’s 1982 exhibition and the catalogue produced to accompany it, now long out of print, new research has thrown up much new evidence. It sheds new light on the history and prehistory of the Tunis trip, as well as its after-effects, and illuminates the context, both historical and art-historical, of the birth of modern watercolour painting. Zentrum Paul Klee has taken on the task of re-examining and honouring the art-historically significant event in a comprehensive, art-historically grounded publication. All the works exhibited are given full-page illustrations of very high printing quality, thus allowing a wide audience to grasp the Tunis trip as a visual experience.