Zentrum Paul Klee Bern Founded by Maurice E. and Martha Müller and the heirs of Paul Klee

Highlights 2014 Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern

The trip to Tunis. Klee, Macke, Moilliet 14 March to 22 June 2014

2014 will mark a period of a hundred years since the legendary trip to Tunis undertaken by the three artist friends Paul Klee, August Macke and Louis Moilliet in April, 1914. The Zentrum Paul Klee will take this anniversary as an opportunity to once again highlight this defining moment in modernity and bring together again for the first time in over thirty years in a comprehensive exhibition those works of art that the trip gave rise to or inspired. 

The coalescence of these works of art by the three artists, which are presently scattered across the world, will serve to illustrate the fascinating pictorial 'rivalry' that inspired great artistic achievements during the trip, particularly by Klee and Macke. During the stay of just under two weeks in Tunisia, Klee created 35 watercolours and 13 drawings, and Macke 33 watercolours and 79 drawings in three sketchbooks. Moilliet was far less productive in Tunisia, meaning that his most important works were produced during later visits to Morocco and southern Spain. Tunisia remained an important source of inspiration to Klee for a long time. He repeatedly used the memory of the trip or its images as a source of inspiration and produced over twenty works up until the early 1930s that drew from this. 

The trip to Tunis is regarded as a key art-history event in the 20th century. A number of new research results have come to light since Ernst-Gerhard Güse's catalogue, long since out of print, that accompanied the 1982 exhibition in Münster (Westphalia) and Bonn. They shed an entirely new light on this birth of modern watercolour painting and its artistic and historical context. 

The exhibition which is being curated by Michael Baumgartner can only be seen in the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern. It includes approx. 140 exhibits (around 100 of which are in colour, principally watercolours). The loan items are from 65 American and European museums and private collections. The Hatje Cantz Verlag is publishing a catalogue in German, English and French to accompany the exhibition. The project and the preceding research work are being supported by the Paul-Klee-Stiftung [Paul Klee Foundation] of the Civic Community of Bern.

Taking a Line for a Walk 16 April to 17 August 2014

With works by Paul Klee (1879-1940), Mark Tobey (1890-1976), Henri Michaux (1899-1984), Cy Twombly (1928-2011), Brice Marden (b. 1938), Jonathan Lasker (b. 1948), Olav Christopher Jenssen (b. 1954), Christopher Wool (b. 1955) 

The exhibition's title quotes the remark by Paul Klee "eine Linie spazieren führen" and derives from Klee's use of the line which often manifests itself in the form of graphic letters or symbolic characters, or develops from these. Paul Klee's visual thinking attached special importance to lettering, the character and the line in his artistic creations. Lettering not only transports content, but is also an independent and abstract form. Its structure and its external shape comply with certain conventions. At the same time, such lettering is also influenced by the characteristic style of the author. It therefore combines concept and spontaneity and is therefore an interesting witness to the artistic process. This artistic approach shows Klee, to some extent, to be an early exponent of abstract expressionism. 

The exhibition is rooted in Klee's oeuvre, which it documents vividly, but principally displays works by artists who are exponents of American and European trends, or the forerunners of abstract expressionism. Key works, some with extremely large dimensions, such as Brice Marden's "The Muses" or Jonathan Lasker's "When Dreams Work" enter into a dialogue with the incunabula of post-war art such as Cy Twombly's "Free Wheeler" from 1955, but also series of delicate drawings including unpublished sheets from the Henri Michaux Estate, by way of example. 

The exhibition which is being curated by Fabienne Eggelhöfer can only be seen in the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern. It extends to approx. 100 works (around 40 of which are paintings and 60 are studies on paper). A catalogue in German/English will be published by the Snoek Verlag, Cologne.

Paul Klee. Special class – Not for sale 23 October 2014 to 1 February 2015

Klee used "Special class – Not for sale" for a special category within his own classification system that he used for stipulating different price classes. The "Special class" or "SKl" label was reserved for those works that were of special significance for the artist and that he had planned to include in his estate collection. Such "special-class" works are the subject of a research project that is being funded by the Ernst von Siemens Foundation and carried out by the University of Zurich, in collaboration with the Zentrum Paul Klee and the Museum of Fine Arts in Leipzig. The results will be able to be seen in this exhibition. 

In addition to numerous other works by Paul Klee, the exhibition, which is being curated by Michael Baumgartner, will include 100 "special class" works, around 40% of the total number of "special class" works of art. A comprehensive publication containing details of the research results will accompany the exhibition. After Bern, the exhibition, in a slightly changed composition, will be able to be viewed in Leipzig (1 March to 25 May 2015).


Klee & Kandinsky

Zentrum Paul Klee
19 June to 27 September 2015 

Städtische Galerie am Lenbachhaus, Munich
23 October 2015 to 24 January 2016

For more information, please contact:
Maria-Teresa Cano, Director of Publicity and Art Communication
mariateresa.cano@zpk.org, Tel. +41 (0)31 359 01 01