Under the terms of a separate agreement with the City and the Canton of Bern the Paul-Klee-Stiftung [Paul Klee Foundation], which was founded in 1947 and domiciled at Bern’s Art Museum until the end of 2004, merged with the Stiftung Zentrum Paul Klee [Zentrum Paul Klee Foundation] on 1 January 2005.
Until it merged with the Stiftung Zentrum Paul Klee thePaul-Klee-Stiftung was the scientific centre of competence on Paul Klee for more than fifty years. Through its co-operation with the Klee family and networking activities with Bern’s Art Museum it played a considerable part in making the “artistic exception” Paul Klee one of the most famous artists of the 20th century.
The work of the Paul-Klee-Foundation in the 1950’s and 1960’s centred on the conservational care of the collection which the two directors of the Museum of Fine Arts, Max Huggler and Hugo Wagner, carried out. The works were catalogued, mounted and restored.
Work documentation, archive and library were principally made possible through close collaboration with Paul Klee’s son Felix. Felix Klee, who had been a member of the board of directors of the Foundation since 1953 and since 1963 its president, handed over to the Paul-Klee-Foundation reproductions from the photographic archive and books from his special library on Paul Klee. Alexander Klee, the son of Felix Klee, later complemented these bequests with important parts of the written legacy of Paul and Lily Klee.
To the most important tasks undertaken in the 1970’s and 1980’s besides the work of preservation, was the setting up of a detailed documentation of the works. Under the direction of Jürgen Glaesemer, who in 1971 was elected the first conservator of the Foundation, the basis was laid for the later Catalogue raisonné Paul Klee.
The death of Felix Klee, only son of Paul and Lily Klee, in 1990 marked a decisive turn in the history of the Paul-Klee-Stiftung.At the initiative of the Klee family the idea of a separate “Klee Museum” began to take shape, and gained new momentum with the offers of donations from Livia Klee-Meyer in 1997 and Müller family in 1998. Given the circumstances the Paul-Klee-Stiftung Board decided to contribute the collection’s assets, the archive, the library and the staff of the Paul-Klee-Stiftung to the new institution, which went by the name of Zentrum Paul Klee. The agreement that the Paul-Klee-Stiftung would merge with the Stiftung Zentrum Paul Klee on 1 January 2005 was signed by the relevant parties on 1 September 2000.
With more than 2,500 paintings, drawings and colour works on paper the Paul-Klee-Stiftung had one of the largest collections worldwide of works by Paul Klee. It also established itself as a unique documentation and research facility. With the merging of the Paul-Klee-Stiftung with the Stiftung Zentrum Paul Klee the operator of the Zentrum Paul Klee also assumed ownership of the collections of the Paul-Klee-Stiftung. The expertise of the former Paul-Klee-Stiftung is the bedrock that ensures that scientific involvement with the oeuvre of Paul Klee will remain vibrant, particularly with regard to the scheduled publication of picture and text archives and the organisation of scientific research and publication programs.