Paul Klee. Angels26 April - 7 July 2013
Paul Klee. Daemonie, 1939, 897, Aquarell, Tempera und Bleistift auf Grundierung auf Papier auf Karton. 20,9 x 32,8 cm. Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern
Paul Klee's images of angels are among his most popular works. Angels not only appeal to art lovers but are also cherished by many as poetic helpers in everyday life. As winged hybrids – half man, half heavenly messenger – they represent an intermediate state between worldly and otherworldly existence; this plays to the modern desire for spirituality but at the same time expresses contemporary scepticism towards religion and questions of faith. Most of Klee's 80 or so images of angels were created between 1938 and 1940, in the final years of his life, and are a reflection of his own situation at that time. They indicate how the artist felt as he approached the threshold between life and death, showing fear and a sense of threat, but also intellectual detachment, wit and cheerfulness. Klee's angels often get close to the devil, however: Lucifer, Leviathan, Mephisto and "Chindlifrässer" (child eater) are some of the diabolical figures he places directly beside his angels and sometimes even presents in their guise. The proximity of angels to devils is consistent with Klee's philosophy of a balance of forces that does not define good and evil as opposites but instead represents the relativity of moral values. In this exhibition, which includes around 90 drawings, watercolours, gouaches and paintings, almost all of Klee's angels have been gathered together for the very first time.
The exhibition is supplemented by depictions of angels, from The Middle Ages to the present day, from the extensive collection of the Hamburger Kunsthalle. A look at the visual history of winged beings shows how Paul Klee draws on this source, yet also distances himself from it: his angels have their basis in tradition, but the speak an individual personal language.
Organised in cooperation with the Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern.
Kuratorin: Dr. Karin Schick
- Possible by
- Supported by
Paul Klee (1879-1940), Hoher Wächter, 1940
Paul Klee, Engel vom Stern, 1939
Paul Klee (1879-1940), Engel, noch weiblich, 1939
Paul Klee, vergesslicher Engel, 1939
Paul Klee, Schellen-Engel, 1939
Paul Klee, Sturz, 1933
Paul Klee, mehr Vogel, 1939
Paul Klee, christliches Gespenst, 1939
Paul Klee, Daemonie, 1939