About This Artwork

Paul Klee
German, born Switzerland, 1879–1940

Fleeing Ghost, 1929

Oil on canvas
35 1/4 x 25 in. (89.5 x 63.5 cm)
Signed, u.l.: "Klee"

Bequest of Claire Zeisler, 1991.1500

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

Paul Klee’s artistic skills were diverse: he was a painter, printmaker, critic, and theoretician. He taught at the Bauhaus for most of the famed school’s existence; initially head of the bookbinding department, he also supervised the glass-painting workshop. His greatest influence, however, was as a lecturer for the basic design course on the theory of form in art. In lectures, Klee developed his ideas about the "polyphony" of painting, which was based on his interest in simultaneous sensational effects that could be created by various layered formal elements. He believed that this type of creative experimentation could "issue forth a transformed beholder of art" and thus pave the way for total abstraction.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Berlin, Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Paul Klee, October 20–November 15, 1929, n.p., cat. 115, as Fliehender Geist.

New York, Museum of Modern Art, Paul Klee, March 13–April 2, 1930, p. 16, plate 51 (ill.), cat. 51, as Hurrying Spirit, Fliehender Geist. Essen, Kunsthallen, Deutscher Künstlerbund, May 25–August 23, 1931, cat. 199.

Berlin, Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Paul Klee: Neue Bilder und Aquarelle, November 15–December 10, 1931, cat. 3.

Düsseldorf, Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf-Münchner Kunstausstellung, May 14–August 31, 1932, p.33, cat. 363, as Fliehender Geist.

London, The Mayor Gallery, Paul Klee, January–February 1934, cat. 25.

Edinburgh, Royal Scottish Academy Galleries, Forty-First Annual Exhibition of the Society of Scottish Artists, December 1, 1934–January 12, 1935, p. 29, cat. 134, as Fleeing Spirit.

Bern, Kunsthalle, Paul Klee, February 23–March 24, 1935, cat. 42.

Basel, Kunsthalle, Paul Klee, October 27–November 24, 1935, p.4, cat. 33. [for sale]Lucerne, Kunstmuseum, Paul Klee, Fritz Hut, April 26–June 3, 1936, cat. 123.

New York, Nierendorf Gallery, Paul Klee: A Choice Collection of the Master’s Work, October 24–November 1938, cat. 9.

Chicago, Arts Club, The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Florsheim, November 4–29, 1941, n.p., cat. 13.

Chicago, Renaissance Society, Paul Klee, June 5–24, 1946, cat. 1. Chicago, Arts Club, Surrealism: Then and Now, October 1–30, 1958, n.p. (ill.), cat. 26.

Dallas, Museum for Contemporary Arts, Signposts of 20th Century Art, October 28–December 7, 1959, p. 38 (ill.), cat. 91.

Publication History

Will Grohmann, Paul Klee (Cahiers d’art, 1929), pp. 59 (ill.), xxxii–xxxiii, as Fliehender Geist and la fuite du fantôme.

Karl Jakob Hirsch, “Malir Paul Klee,” Musaion (December 1929), v. 9, p. 210 (ill.).

John Anthony Thwaites, “Paul Klee and the Object,” Parnassus (November 1937), v. 9, no. 6, p. 11, as Flight of the Phantom.

Christian Zervos, Histoire de l’art Contemporain, (Cahiers d’art, 1938), p. 403 (ill.), as la fuite du fantome.

Shuzo Takiguchi, “Paul Klee,” Atelier [Tokyo] (1940), 17, no. 4, (ill.).“Principales Acquisitions des Musées en 1991,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts (March 1992), pp. 78 (ill.), 79, cat. 273, as Fantôme fuyant.

Stefan Frey and Josef Helfenstein, eds., Paul Klee Rediscovered: Works from the Bürgi Collection (London: Merrell Publications, 2000), p. 226, note 4.

Paul-Klee-Stiftung, Paul Klee: Catalogue Raisonné (Bern: Paul-Klee Stiftung, 2001), vol. 5, p. 336 (ill.), cat. 4887, as Fliehender Geist, Ghost Fleeing.

Ownership History

Rudolf Probst, Galerie Neue Kunst Fides, Das Kunsthaus, Dresden/Mannheim, 1929 [Paul-Klee-Stiftung 2001]. Alfred Flechtheim, Düsseldorf, 1929 to 1933 [Berlin 1929 and Paul-Klee-Stiftung 2001]. Alex Vömel, Düsseldorf [Paul-Klee-Stiftung 2001]. The Mayor Gallery, London, 1934 to 1935 [Edinburgh 1934]. Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (Galerie Simon), Paris, by 1938 [Paul-Klee-Stiftung 2001]. Karl Nierendorf, New York, by 1938 [Paul-Klee-Stiftung 2001 and verso label]. J. Israel Ber Neumann (1887–1961), New Art Circle, Neumann Gallery, New York [Paul-Klee-Stiftung 2001 and verso label]. Harold M. and Claire Florsheim, Highland Park, by 1941 to at least 1946 [Chicago 1941, and Chicago 1946]. Katherine Kuh Gallery, Chicago [Paul-Klee-Stiftung 2001]. Dr. Ernest B. and Claire Zeisler (formerly Claire Florsheim), Chicago, by 1953 to 1991 [shipping order A1958 dated April 27, 1953 from Art Institute to Claire Zeisler in curatorial file]; bequeathed to the Art Institute, 1991.

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