Paul Klee (1879-1940)
Paul Klee (1879-1940)

Garten am Wasser

Paul Klee (1879-1940)
Garten am Wasser
signed 'KLEE' (lower right); dated, numbered and titled 'IV 1932 M. 10. Garten am Wasser' (on the artist's mount)
gouache and watercolor on paper laid down on board
Image size: 8¼ x 12¾ in. (21 x 32.4 cm.)
Mount size: 17½ x 22½ in. (44.5 x 57.2 cm.)
Painted in 1932
Ida Bienert, Dresden and Munich.
By descent from the above to the present owner.
The Paul Klee Foundation, ed., Paul Klee, Catalogue Raisonné, Bern, 2002, vol. 6, p. 185, no. 5766 (illustrated).
Munich, Haus der Kunst, Die Maler am Bauhaus, May-June 1950, no. 150.


Klee's trip to Egypt in 1928 had a profound impact on his works for the remainder of his career. He was influenced by the polychrome geometric decorations in Islamic architecture and the luminous colors of Mediterranean mosaics. By 1929, Klee had left the Bauhaus following the departure of his contmporaries Walter Gropius, Herbert Bayer, Marcel Breuer and László Maholy-Nagy one year prior due to the increasing controversy and scrutiny with the organized actions of the Nazis against Modern art. While teaching at the Bauhaus, Klee worked alongside Kandinsky whose colors and strong geometrical forms were a great influence, along with his use of a black background. "Black is always unfathomable to Klee. According to him it is the primal ground" (W. Grohmann, Klee, New York, 1992, p. 102). Nonetheless, the black background is an effective contrast to the strong blue and orange tones against it. The rythmic lines and modulations in color also possess a musical quality which we inevitably associate with Klee.