Paul Klee Foundation

 Paul Klee Insula dulcamara 1938, 481 (C 1) Öl- und Kleisterfarbe auf Zeitungspapier auf Jute auf Keilrahmen; originale Rahmenleisten 88 x 176 cm Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern

The Paul Klee Foundation was established in 1947 and was domiciled in the Kunstmuseum Bern until the end of 2004. On 1 January 2005, it was merged into the Zentrum Paul Klee Foundation. It comprises the world's largest collection of works by Paul Klee.

For more than 50 years, the Paul Klee Foundation was the scientific competence centre for Paul Klee. In co-operation with the Klee family and in conjunction with the Kunstmuseum Bern, it made a significant contribution to turning the "artistic special case" Paul Klee into one of the most famous artists of the 20th century.

The conservation of the collection took centre stage. In the 1950s and 1960s, the works were inventoried, catalogued and restored under the two directors of the Kunstmuseum Bern, Max Huggler and Hugo Wagner.

In cooperation with Paul Klee's son, Felix, documentation of the works, an archive and a library were made possible. Felix Klee, who had been a member of the Foundation Board since 1953 and its president since 1963, donated prints from his photo archive and books from his specialised library on Paul Klee to the Paul Klee Foundation. His son Alexander Klee supplemented the donations with important parts of Paul and Lily Klee's written estate.

In the 1970s and 1980s, a detailed documentation of the artist's work was compiled. From 1971, Jürgen Glaeser was the Foundation's first curator. Under his direction, the basis for the catalogue raisonné Paul Klee was created.

The death of Felix Klee in 1990 heralded a turning point. On the initiative of the Klee family, the idea of a "Klee Museum" took on a concrete form to which a new dimension was added by the donation offers from Livia Klee-Meyer in 1997 and the Müller family in 1998. The Board of Trustees of the Paul Klee Foundation decided to transfer the collection, the archive, the library and the staff of the Paul Klee Foundation to the new Zentrum Paul Klee institution. On 1 September 2000, the responsible parties signed the contract for the merger of the Paul Klee Foundation into the Zentrum Paul Klee Foundation on 1 January 2005.

More than 2,500 paintings, drawings and coloured works on paper were subsequently transferred to the Zentrum Paul Klee Foundation. The expertise of the former Paul Klee Foundation as a unique documentation and research centre serves as the basis for a lively academic examination of Klee's work, particularly with regard to the publication of image and text archives and the implementation of academic research and publication programmes.

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