Paul Klee 1879-1940
Inscribed 'Klee' b.r.; '1921/108 Komödie' on mount; 'Privatbes. Sg.K.' and '28' on second mount
Watercolour over oil-colour drawing on paper, 12 x 17 7/8 (30.5 x 45.5)
Purchased from Frau Lily Klee (Knapping Fund) 1946
Exh: Paul Klee: 2. Gesamtausstellung 1920-1925, Hans Goltz, Munich, May-June 1925 (56); Paul Klee, Galerie Vavin-Raspail, Paris, October-November 1925 (14); Gedächtnis Ausstellung: Paul Klee, Kunsthalle, Basle, February-March 1941 (167); Paul Klee 1879-1940, National Gallery, London, December 1945-February 1946 (52); Paul Klee 1879-1940, Arts Council touring exhibition, 1946 (16, repr.)
Repr: Will Grohmann, Paul Klee (Paris 1929), pl.18 (stated, apparently incorrectly, to be in the Museum of Living Art (coll. Gallatin), New York); Der Querschnitt, X, April 1930, n.p., as 'Musikalische Komödie'; Cahiers d'Art, 1945-6, p.38
According to Will Grohmann, 'Comedy' stems from the parties and little theatrical performances which were a regular feature of student life at the Bauhaus and in which burlesque and mechanical elements played a major part. Klee took great delight in these and used to make humorous allusions to them in his speech (letter of 14 June 1953).
Klee's oeuvre catalogue gives the media of this work as 'Aquarell und Oelfarbe' and lists under 1921/109 a preliminary pen drawing, 'Zeichnung zu 21/108', which would have been used to make the oil-colour drawing. This study does not seem to have been photographed and its present location is unknown.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.387, reproduced p.387