We’ve had ambidextrousness, bears, cats, diaries, and Egypt - now as The EY Exhibition: Paul Klee – Making Visible opens, our A–Z blog series continues with one of his most memorable motifs, the fish

Paul Klee, 'They're Biting' 1920

Paul Klee
They're Biting 1920
Drawing and oil on paper
support: 311 x 235 mm
Purchased 1946

View the main page for this artwork

The German painter and watercolourist Paul Klee had an aquarium in his house and was fascinated by the movement of his fish in three dimensions. He would discuss this with his students and it became the subject for several paintings through the 1920s. Where Around the Fish shows a meal, the teaming world of fish is explored in Aquarium. In the aptly titled Fish Magic, the presence of the creatures seems to cast a spell like Papageno’s music box on the birds in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Curious people appear at the margins as if mesmerised by this entrancing world. You too can step into it, and see this work for yourself, in our show, opening this week.

The EY Exhibition: Paul Klee – Making Visible is at Tate Modern 16 October 2013 – 9 March 2014, tickets available now