Paul Klee Ships in the Dark 1927

Artwork details

Paul Klee 1879–1940
Ships in the Dark
Schiffe im Dunklen
Date 1927
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 427 x 590 mm
Lent from a private collection 2011
On long term loan

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A series of interlocking triangles form the sails of a troupe of boats strung across the canvas in an undulating line that suggests a gently rocking, wave-like motion. This rhythmic composition recalls a diagram charted by Klee in the notes from his lectures at the Bauhaus, showing ‘an active line, limited in its movement by fixed points’. The nautical imagery also seems to draw upon Klee’s recent trip to the south of France and Corsica.

March 2014

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