Catalogue entry

Paul Klee 1879-1940

T00669 Walpurgis Night 1935

Inscribed 'Klee' b.l. and '1935 121 QU 1 Walpurgisnacht' on the back
Gouache on cloth mounted on plywood, 20 x 18 1/2 (51 x 47)
Purchased from the Galerie Beyeler (Grant-in-Aid) 1964
Prov: Swiss private collector; with Berggruen, Paris; with World House Galleries, New York, 1959; Finarte sale, Milan, 21-23 November 1962, lot 119, repr. in colour; bt. Galerie Beyeler, Basle
Exh: Paul Klee, World House Galleries, New York, March-April 1960 (36, repr.); Klee, Galerie Beyeler, Basle, March-April 1963 (50)

This work was executed the year Klee first fell seriously ill. Asked whether this illness could have had any bearing on its haunted character, his son Felix Klee replied: 'Klee's illness first began at the end of 1935 as a case of ordinary measles. I consider it unlikely that it is in any way related to this picture. The ghostly scenes on the Brocken - from Goethe's Faust - often exerted a fascination on my father. Also at Easter 1923 we travelled from Wernigerode through the Harz Mountains to Braunschweig. The legendary traditions of this region and my father's assimilation of them are things I shall never forget. These I take to be the true source of this work!' (letter of 5 May 1975).

Published in:
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.389, reproduced p.389