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Paul Klee

/Works and biography

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Portrait of Frau P. in the South (Bildnis der Frau P. im Süden), 1924
Watercolor and oil transfer drawing on paper, mounted on
gouache-painted board, 42.5 x 31 cm, including mount
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice 76.2553 PG 89


Paul Klee’s vacation in Sicily during the summer of 1924 provided him with the subjects for several watercolors that capture the color, light, and mood of a specific geographical location and cast of characters. This portrait is a good-natured caricature of what might be two prim northern ladies whose absurd hats insufficiently shield them from the intensity of the Mediterranean sun. The vivid, warm color that thickens and thins atmospherically over the surface of the page is incised with simplified graphic contours. The heart shape on Frau P.’s chest appears frequently in Klee’s work, sometimes as a mouth, nose, or torso. The motif bridged the organic and inorganic worlds for the artist by symbolizing life forces while serving as a “mediating form between circle and rectangle”.

credits: Hangar Design Group