Sale: 500 / Evening Sale, July 17. 2020 in Munich Lot 208

Paul Klee
Der Krieg schreitet über eine Ortschaft, 1914.
Watercolor on paper, originally laminated on board
€ 100,000 / $ 119,000
€ 200,000 / $ 238.000

(incl. 25% surcharge)
Lot description
Der Krieg schreitet über eine Ortschaft. 1914.
Watercolor on paper, originally laminated on board.
Klee 1280. Signed in upper left. Dated, titled "D. Krieg schreitet üb. e. Ortschaft" and inscribed "179" on the backing board. 17.5 x 11.5 cm (6.8 x 4.5 in). Backing board: 29 x 22,5 cm (11,3 x 8,8 in).
• In 1920 sold through Klee's gallerist Hans Goltz, Munich, one of the most important patrons of Modernism
• From the acclaimed British collections of Sir Edward and Nika Hulton, London
• Fresh to the market and with a comprehensive literature- and exhibition history

PROVENANCE: Galerie Neue Kunst – Hans Goltz (May-June 1920).
Rodney Philips, London.
The Mayor Gallery, London.
Lady Nika Hulton, London (verso with the label; at least from 1964 to 1968).
Galerie Beyeler, Basel (until 1979, with the label on rear board).
Fischer Fine Art, London (with the label on rear board).
Galerie Schmela, Düsseldorf (with the label on rear board).
Private collection North Rhine-Westphalia.

EXHIBITION: Neue Münchner Sezession. Graphische Ausstellung, Galerie Caspari, Munich, spring 1918, no. 105.
Paul Klee 1879-1940, The Tate Gallery in the National Gallery, London, December 22, 1945 - February 17, 1946, no. 137.
Works by Paul Klee from the Collection of Mrs. Edward Hulton, The Tate Gallery, London, May 4 - June 5, 1955; City Art Gallery, York, August 1955; The Arts Club, Chicago, November 8 - December 6, 1956, no. 6 with illu.
The Blue Rider Group. Edinburgh International Festival, The Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, summer 1960; The Tate Gallery, The Arts Council of Great Britain, London, September 30 - October 30, 1960, no.107 (with the label on rear board).
Collection Sir Edward and Lady Hulton, London, Kunst- und Museumsverein Wuppertal; Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Frankfurter Kunstverein; Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich; Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund, 1964/65, no. 63 (with four labels on rear board).
Collection Sir Edward and Lady Hulton London, Kunsthaus Zürich, December 3, 1967 - January 7, 1968, no. 65.
Klee. Kunst ist ein Schöpfungsgleichnis, Galerie Beyeler, Basel, September -November 1973, no. 6, with illu. (with the label on rear board).
Klee. 74 ½uvres de 1908 à 1940, Galerie Karl Flinker, Paris, March 29 - May 11, 1974, no. 8 (with the label on rear board).
Paul Klee, Galerie Günther Franke, Munich, June 7 - July 19, 1975, no. 10 (with the label on rear board).
Petits Formats, Galerie Beyeler Basel, May - July 1978, no. 75 (with the label on rear board).
Paul Klee. Das Frühwerk, 1883-1922, Städtische Galerie im Lehnbachhaus, Munich, December 12, 1979 - March 2, 1980, no. 260, with illu. (with the label on rear board).

LITERATURE: Paul Klee an Lily Klee, March 22, 1916, Briefe, II, p. 794.
Christian Geelhaar, Klee-Zeichnungen. "Reise ins Land der besseren Erkenntnis", Cologne 1975, p. 18, with illu.
Michèle Vishny, Paul Klee and War: A Stance of Aloofness, in: Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 120th year, vol. 92, December 1978, pp. 235f., illu. 1.
Otto Karl Werkmeister, Versuche über Paul Klee, Frankfurt/M. 1981, p. 11, 90 note 5.
Société Anonyme and the Dreier Bequest at Yale University. A Catalogue Raisonné, published by Robert L. Herbert, Eleanor S. Apter and Elise K. Kenny, New Haven/London 1984, p. 379.
Otto Karl Werkmeister, The Making of Paul Klee’s Career 1914-1920, Chicago/London 1989, p. 17, 262 notes 25 and 29, with illu.
Regine Prange, Das Kristalline als Kunstsymbol - Bruno Taut und Paul Klee. Zur Reflexion des Abstrakten in Kunst und Kunsttheorie der Moderne, Hildesheim 1991, p. 324.
Martin Kern, Paul Klee und seine Werke aus den Jahren 1917 und 1918, in: ex. cat. Gersthofen 1992, p. 50.
Regine Prange, Hinüberbauen in eine jenseitige Gegend: Paul Klees Lithografie "Der Tod für die Idee" und die Genese der Abstraktion, in: Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch, vol. LIV, 1993, p. 283.
Paul Klee in 1915 in his diary III (quote from: Exhibition cat.: Paul Klee. Felix Klee Collection, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanover 1980, pp.40 / 952).

Although he was not drafted for military service before March 11, 1916, Klee had led a kind of double life as artist and soldier since the outbreak of World War I. August Macke, with whom he embarked on the delightful trip to Tunis in April 1914 - the Swiss Louis Moilliet was the third member of the party - fell in the French Champagne in September 1914. News of the heroic death of his friend Franz Marc near Verdun on March 4, 1916, had probably not reached the new recruit yet. Unlike Klee, the Francophile Franz Marc supported the war and saw it as a necessity that would liberate Europe from 19th-century materialism and pave the way into a new and more spiritual era. He was not the only one in such a mindset, as a large part of the German intelligentsia shared these hopes with him. A week later the Swiss Paul Klee, who had German citizenship, received his draft order. Klee was trained in the Bavarian town of Landshut. When Klee's family learned about his imminent redeployment to the front, they made every effort to prevent this from happening. Eventually stationed in Schleissheim near Munich in August 1916, his task, in line with his profession as painter, was to paint aircraft parts with camouflage paint, to mend them and to apply the Iron Cross and numbers and letters used for identification purposes onto the planes’ bodies by means of a stencil. In January 1917, Klee was transferred to Gersthofen near Augsburg, where he served as clerk in the flight school’s cash department until the end of the war.
World War I broke out around three months after the had returned from Tunisia. Klee, who initially defended the war, wrote to the Bern art collector Hermann Rupf in December 1914: “What a misfortune this war is for all of us, and especially for me, as I owe so much to Paris and have such a deep spiritual friendship with the artists there. How will we face one another after all of this will be over? How ashamed will we be about what we have done to one another on both sides! " In his diary Klee established an astonishing connection between the events of the war and abstract art: "The more terrifying this world is (like it is the case today), the more abstract the art, while a happy world produces secularistic art. [..] There is debris in the large form pit, some of which we still feel attached to. That provide the material for abstraction. ”(Quote from Paul Klee, from: Exhibition catalog: Paul Klee. Sammlung Felix Klee, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanover 1980, pp. 40/951).For the watercolor “Der Krieg schreitet über eine Ortschaft” this comparison creates a deeply symbolic level. Towards the end of the Tunis watercolors, a series of sheets came into existence, which, beginning with “Mit dem roten x“ (1914, 136), show jumbled abstract architectural elements reminiscent of grids and with titles such as ”Gedanken an die Schlacht“ (Thoughts of Battle, 1914, 140) or “Gedanken an den Aufmarsch“ (Thoughts of Deployment, 1914, 141), titles that clearly evoke military associations. In addition to this motif painted in black on Italian Ingres paper, Klee also used the term ‘war’ for ”Abstrakt Kriegerisch“ (1914, 219) in 1914. In both cases destruction appears, jumbled elements of a peaceful world in abstract signs, man-made order sacrificed to the senselessness of war. Here Klee seems to use the abstract aspect of destruction for his compositional transformation, precisely to decompose a locality into its architectural elements and to reinvent it with the same volume. Terms such as construction, deconstruction, dismantling, dividing, separating are key design principles of Klee's art and this is not necessarily related to the enormous number of works created during the war years. On the contrary: in contrast to Otto Dix, Klee seems to exclude the theme of "war" from his "everyday” drawing life, only readdressing it in 1918 when he was occupied with the "Gedenkblätter für Kriegsgefallene“ (KIA Memorial Sheets), processing the war in his very own critical manner, like it is the case with the watercolor "Mit dem Adler“ from 1918, 155. The Prussian Eagle triumphantly sits on an architectural ground that Klee borrowed from a draft for a national monument, placing an idyllic landscape in the middle. The eye as a symbol of God’s omnipresence watches over good and evil, and here over nature recapturing what was taken by the war. [MvL]
Paul Klee
Der Krieg schreitet über eine Ortschaft, 1914.
Watercolor on paper, originally laminated on board
€ 100,000 / $ 119,000
€ 200,000 / $ 238.000

(incl. 25% surcharge)