Klee – (Motif and Rhythm)

Paul Klee - Saint-Germain, near Tunis - 1914 - 22 x 32 cm - watercolour

This lovely watercolour shows us Klee’s wonderful use of the grid, which was the foundation for many of his compositions.  The grid provides an overall motif of squares or rectangles which unifies the composition, and a disciplined artist will not let the subject disrupt the rhythm.  In other words composition before information.

Klee’s grids are organic which provide the poetic feel of his compositions.  The freehand grid with it’s variety of sizes, can also convey the feeling of space, as Klee does so beautifully in this painting, particularly with the large vertical red rectangle near the bottom. Can you feel it being in front?  Klee also provides a sub motif of triangles, which conveys oblique movement and the structural elements.

The strength and rhythm of the blacks is most impressive as they ensure we will move gracefully through the composition.  Note how the black triangle on the right balances the houses.  Truly masterful!

Having the grid throughout the painting integrating the foreground, the background and the sky is works beautifully and I am very impressed with the vertical running from the bottom  to the top, next to the black triangle.  Do you feel it being another plane?

I am sure Klee listened when he painted this lyrical composition.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *