About this artwork

This work may be a self-portrait. Klee had very large eyes, a domed head and a closely cropped beard. The artist made many puppets for his son, and this figure, with its arms flopping down and tilted head, appears to have been inspired by a puppet. The figure was created by a process of oil transfer, rather like making a carbon copy. The artist used a sharp instrument to draw the outline of the figure on a sheet painted with special oil paint on the underside. The black smudges show where Klee's hand rested on the paper.

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  • title: Gespenst eines Genies [Ghost of a Genius]
  • accession number: GMA 2106
  • artist: Paul KleeGerman (1879 - 1940)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • subject: Self-portrait Surrealism
  • materials: Oil transfer and watercolour on paper laid on card
  • date created: 1922
  • measurements: 50.00 x 35.40 cm (framed: 61.90 x 80.30 x 3.80 cm)
  • credit line: Purchased 1979
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Paul Klee

Paul Klee

Klee was born near Berne, Switzerland and studied art in Munich. In 1912, his work was included in the second exhibition of the 'Blaue Reiter' (Blue Rider) Expressionist group. In the same year, he saw an exhibition of cubist paintings in Paris, which had a great influence on his style. Klee spent ten years as a teacher at the Bauhaus from 1921, along with Kandinsky. He was dismissed from a teaching post at the Düsseldorf Academy in 1933 by the Nazis and his work was included in the Degenerate 'Art' exhibition. A highly inventive and prolific artist, Klee produced around nine thousand pieces in his lifetime, usually working on a small scale.

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