Not on display
- Paul Klee 1879–1940
- Original title
- Abenteuer eines Fräuleins
- Watercolour on paper
- Support: 625 × 480 mm
frame: 686 × 510 × 20 mm
- Purchased 1946
Paul Klee 1879-1940
N05659 A Young Lady's Adventure 1922
Inscribed 'Klee' b.l.; also '1922/152' on mount b.l. and 'Abenteuer eines Fräuleins' b.r.
Watercolour on paper, 17 1/4 x 12 5/8 (43.5 x 32)
Purchased from Frau Lily Klee (Knapping Fund) 1946
Exh: Lent by the artist to the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Weimar, 1923-30; Paul Klee 1879-1940, National Gallery, London, December 1945-January 1946 (61); Paul Klee 1879-1940, Arts Council touring exhibition, 1946 (21, repr.)
Lit: Christian Geelhaar, Paul Klee and the Bauhaus (Bath 1973), p.54, repr. pl.23 in colour
Repr: Cahiers d'Art, 1945-6, p.33; Carola Giedion-Welcker, Paul Klee (London 1952), p.46; John Rothenstein, The Tate Gallery (London 1958), p.153 in colour
Will Grohmann commented on this work (letter of 14 June 1953): 'Klee had a very distant relation to women and saw in general their comic side. This mannequin-like female figure must represent a fashionable lady, who in spite of her striking elegance is more or less helpless in face of the oppressive spirits. The evil bird takes hold of her, while the arrow threatens to attack. It is probably also a "Temptation". It is amusing to recall that this watercolour was known at the Bauhaus as "The English Miss".'
Christian Geelhaar (loc. cit.), on the other hand, has tended to emphasise its erotic aspects, and has drawn attention to the significance of the arrow in various of Klee's works as a phallic symbol. 'Formally speaking this watercolour belongs to the group of colour gradations: into the olive-green grades are set red accents and these explain the nature of the maidenly adventure: in the area of tension between the red sex of the small preying animal below on the left and the young girl's lap a red shaft of lightning is discharged.'
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, pp.387-8, reproduced p.387
Film and audio
Paris-based producer and composer Shcaa reflects on the many shades of mystery in Paul Klee’s watercolour