Paul Klee’s late work is characterised by an incomparably prolific period, especially where drawings are concerned. In a letter dated 2 January 1940 to his friend, the art historian Will Grohmann, Klee writes: «It has been a rich year for drawings. Never have I drawn as much, and never with greater intensity. Twelve hundred numbers in 1939 has to be a record.»
On the occasion of its opening the Zentrum Paul Klee is planning to focus twice on the artist Paul Klee and place him in a dialogue with himself. In a conscious decision the collection presentation and the opening exhibition are both to show two different aspects. The direct, highly contrasting approach is designed to enhance the experience and foster an understanding for one of Modernism’s most multifaceted artists.
The Zentrum Paul Klee is grateful to the Paul-Klee-Stiftung of the Civic Community of Bern (Burgergemeinde Bern) for its support in realizing the opening exhibition.
A catalogue is to be published to coincide with the exhibition. Available in German and from the Museum Shop.
«Nulla dies sine linea» (not a day without line/drawing) – Paul Klee jotted down this phrase, taken from Pliny the Elder's Historia Naturalis, in his directory of works in 1938, under work No. 365, a drawing entitled Süchtig (Addicted). He completed his oeuvre in 1940, the year of his death – he died on 29 June – with work No. 366; a conceptual consideration? 1940 was, after all, a leap year.
«Nulla dies sine linea» is not just a key biographical feature of Paul Klee, it is also directly related to the diary-like progression of his late work.
The exhibition features essentially calligraphic drawings in pencil and ink, and paste colour sheets dating from Paul Klee’s final creative years. With their equally expressive and meditative representation form they express the profound enigma of Klee’s experience of life and his ideology. This particular level of Paul Klee’s work is usually less well known to the general public.