Klee & Kandinsky

Klee & Kandinsky

Never before has such an outstanding selection of works from these two masters ever been united in one exhibition.

Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky – they are considered to be the “founding fathers” of “classical modernism” and their artists’ friendship to be one of the most fascinating of the twentieth century. Their relationship was shaped by mutual inspiration and support, but also by rivalry and competition – a combination that spurred both of them on in their artistic work. The exhibition “Klee & Kandinsky” traces the eventful history of this artistic relationship over the long period from 1900 to 1940 for the very first time. It draws attention to parallels and similarities as well as differences and distinctions, with an emphasis on their personal and artistic dialogue at the time of the “Blue Rider” and the Bauhaus. The exhibition was created in cooperation with the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau Munich, where it will be presented from 21 October 2015 to 24 January 2016.

Around 1900
“I can dimly recollect Kandinsky and Weisgerber, who were fellow students of mine. […]. Kandinsky was quiet and mixed the colours on his palette with the greatest diligence and, so it seemed to me, with a kind of studiousness, peering very closely at what he was doing.”
Paul Klee, Autobiographical text for Wilhelm Hausenstein, 1919

“[…] I served Beauty by drawing her enemies (caricature, satire).”
Paul Klee, Diaries I, 1901

“In your works, I sense primeval, bygone things wedded with mystical vibrations of spiritual possibilities for the future.”
Alfred Kubin to Wassily Kandinsky, 5.5.1910

Wassily Kandinsky moves to Munich in 1896 and studies at Anton Ažbe’s private school of painting from 1897 to 1899, and, starting in 1900, at the Kunstakademie (Academy of Fine Arts) in Munich with Franz von Stuck. Paul Klee arrives in Munich in 1898 and initially attends the drawing school of Heinrich Knirr. Beginning in 1900, he also attends Stuck’s painting class, but without getting to know Kandinsky better.

The Blue Rider
“Kandinsky wants to organize a new society of artists. Personal acquaintance has given me a somewhat deeper confidence in him. He is somebody and has an exceptionally fine, clear mind.”
Paul Klee, Diaries III, 1911

“1906 […] I thought I had come into the clear in art when for the first time I was able to apply an abstract style to nature.”
Paul Klee, Autobiographical text for Wilhelm Hausenstein, 1919

“Kandinsky, Wassily – painter, printmaker and author – the first painter to base painting on purely pictorial means of expression and abandon objects in his pictures.” Wassily Kandinsky, “Self-characterisation”, in: Das Kunstblatt, 1919

Kandinsky is a painter from the beginning. The thirteen- year-younger Klee, in contrast, is a very talented draughtsman and assesses his painting abilities very self-critically. Starting in 1909, Kandinsky devises a revolutionary new pictorial language with his abstract, large-format paintings. In 1911, he establishes the artists’ association Der Blaue Reiter along with Franz Marc; he gets to know Paul Klee in the autumn of the year. In May 1912, Kandinsky publishes the Almanach Der Blaue Reiter, in which Klee is represented with a drawing.Continue Reading..