This important catalog takes an in-depth look at the many journeys made by the artist to Italy, throwing light on the extraordinary influence they had on his work.
After his first long journey to Italy, in 1901 and 1902, Paul Klee returned to Italy several times: he visited Sicily in 1924 and 1931, the island of Elba in 1926, Viareggio in 1930 and, finally, in 1932, Venice. During these trips, he also visited Milan, Genoa, Padua, Florence, Ravenna, Pisa, and his beloved Naples. Every city provided inspiration for new areas of research and, in some cases, even led to stylistic developments, such as the pointillist phase, after seeing the Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna.
Created ‘on site’ or on his return to Germany, he produced about 70 “Italian works”, some of them evocative, abstract pieces, others of topographical precision. However, a much greater number of Klee’s works were inspired by impressions, reflections and memories conjured up by Italy’s landscape and history. According to Klee, four key factors sum up Italy: its landscape, its architecture, its Classical remains and its music. For him, these form the basis of his art, the basis of the creative processes and thematic developments behind his work. The catalog presents the approximately 70 works on display, many comparative images, and a selection of some of the letters that Paul Klee wrote to his wife from Italy, some of which have been translated here for the first time. The catalog ends with a selection of critical texts penned by Argan, Ponente and Zahn, confirming the artist’s success in the eyes of the critics.