About This Artwork

Paul Klee
German, born Switzerland, 1879–1940

Dancing Girl, 1940

Oil on cloth
21 x 20 7/8 in. (53.3 x 51.2 cm)
signed, l.r.: "P K"

Gift of George B. Young, 1959.172

© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Directly affected by the Nazis’ ascent to power, Paul Klee was dismissed in 1933 from his teaching post at Dusseldorf Academy, where he had spent two years after leaving the Bauhaus. Exiled to Switzerland, Klee suffered physically and psychologically, and his artistic output diminished significantly. Between 1937 and 1940, however, Klee regained artistic momentum and produced several hundred paintings and over 1,500 drawings. In these later works, Klee continued to experiment with unusual media and techniques to produce multidimensional effects. Dancing Girl also reveals Klee’s limitless humor—his signature at the lower right was made by a monogrammed handkerchief, which he laid over the surface to begin his painting.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

New York, Buchholz Gallery, Paul Klee, April 20-May 15, 1948, cat. 39 (ill.).

New Haven, Yale University Art Gallery, Pictures Collected by Yale Alumni, May 8-June 18, 1956, cat. 166 (ill.).

Chicago, Fairweather Hardin Gallery, Tenth Anniversary Loan Exhibition: Paintings and Sculpture Purchased from this Gallery by Residents of the Chicago Area, October 1-17, 1959.

Chicago, Arts Club, Paul Klee, Works from Chicago Collections, January 16-February 20, 1962, cat. 64 (ill.), back cover (ill.).

Publication History

Valentin, Curt, Paul Klee, exh. cat. (New York: Buchholz Gallery, 1948), cat. 39 (ill.).

Giedion-Welcker, Carola, Paul Klee, trans. Alexander Gode (New York: Viking Press, 1952), p. 136 (ill.).

___, Paul Klee (Stuttgart: G. Hatje, 1954), pp. 181, pl. 166 (ill.), 192.

Grohmann, Will, Paul Klee (Geneva: Trois collines, 1954), pp. 307 (ill.), 423, cat. 482.

___, Paul Klee (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1954), pp. 307 (ill.), 421, cat. 469.

Frankfurter, Alfred, “Y Art,” Art News 55, 3 (May 1956), p. 22 (ill.).

Yale University Art Gallery, Pictures Collected by Yale Alumni, exh. cat. (New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 1956), cat. 166 (ill.).

Art Institute of Chicago Annual Report 53, 3 (October 1959), p. 28 (ill.).

Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago: A Catalogue of the Picture Collection (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1961), p. 252.

McNear, Everett, Paul Klee, Works from Chicago Collections, exh. cat. (Chicago: Arts Club of Chicago, 1962), cat. 64 (ill.), back cover (ill.).

Art Institute of Chicago, Instituto de arte de Chicago: Presentación de Charles C. Cunningham (Buenos Aires: Editorial Codex, S.A., 1967), pp. 14, no. 66 (ill.), 74 (color ill.).

Verdi, Richard, “Musical Influences on the Art of Paul Klee,” The Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 3 (1968), pp. 92 (ill. 10), 93.

___, “Musikalische Einflüsse bei Klee,” Melos 40, 1 (January-February 1973), pp. 10, 15 (ill.).

Speyer, A. James, and Courtney Graham Donnell, Twentieth Century European Painting (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), pp. 49-50, no. 2D2.

Roskill, Mark W., Klee, Kandinsky, and the Thought of Their Time: A Critical Perspective (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992), p. 176, pl. 69.

Carroll, Colleen, How Artists See People: Boy, Girl, Man, Woman (New York: Abbeville Kids, 1996), pp. 18 (color ill.), 19 (color ill., detail).

Paul-Klee-Stiftung, Kunstmuseum Bern, ed., Paul Klee: Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 8 (Bern: Benteli, 2004), p. 566, cat. 8995 (ill.).

Ownership History

Lily Klee, Bern, 1940-1946; Klee Gesellschaft, Bern, 1946-1948 [Paul-Klee-Stiftung 2004]; sold to Curt Valentin (Buchholz Gallery), New York, 1948 [as above]; sold to Mrs. Lynne Thompson, New York, 1948 [conversation notes with George Young, March 15, 1977 in curatorial file]; Fairweather-Garnett Gallery, Evanston, Ill., 1950 [notes cited above]; sold to Mr. and Mrs. George B. Young, Chicago, 1951 [notes cited above]; given to the Art Institute, 1959.

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