Saturday, February 27, 2016

Klee & Kandinsky. NEIGHBORS, Friends, RIVALS

October 21, 2015 – January 24, 2016 AT KUnsTBAU

Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky: two names that have come to stand almost as synonyms for classical modernism. They are associated with fundamental avant-garde movements such as the "Blue Rider" and the Bauhaus, and regarded as founding fathers and pacesetters of abstract art. History also records their relationship as one of the great friendships in twentieth-century art.

Klee and Kandinsky were indeed close, though never uncritical, friends for almost three decades. Central to the rapport between them was a focused engagement with each other’s art sustained by many shared aspirations as well as differences on personal and artistic levels. Both artists strove to spiritualize art and explore the intrinsic laws of its visual means. Yet Klee’s ironically refracted realism was alien to Kandinsky’s idealism, and his protean individualism clashed with his friend’s pursuit of the autonomous laws of abstract art.

The exhibition is organized in cooperation with the Zentrum Paul Klee, Berne, and will focus on the years between 1922 and 1931, when both taught at the Bauhaus, worked in a close exchange of artistic ideas, and even lived door to door in one of the "Master Houses" designed by Walter Gropius. Yet their works from the "Blue Rider" period as well as the late oeuvres of the two artists, who died in 1940 and 1944, likewise reflect the bonds of friendship between them.

A collaboration between the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich and the Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern.

Wassily Kandinsky, In Blue, 1925
Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf Acquired by a donation of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk Photo: Walter Klein, Dusseldorf
Paul Klee, Architecture of the Plain, 1923
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie, Museum Berggruen © bpk/Nationalgalerie, Museum Berggruen, SMB, Berlin



The catalogue accompanying the exhibition (360 pp., more than 300 color ill.) edited by Michael Baumgartner, Annegret Hoberg and Christine Hopfengart has been published by Prestel Verlag in German and English.

From an outstanding review, with several more images:

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.