Klee in
North Africa

1914 Tunisia | Egypt 1928
Berlin | Exhibition | until January 10, 2021
+++ Please inform yourself about the current opening times. +++

Paul Klee went to North Africa twice to study: At the beginning of his artistic career, he went to Tunisia, and as an established artist and teacher at the Bauhaus, to Egypt.


The almost two-week study trip with August Macke and Louis Moilliet, which went down in art history as a trip to Tunis, was groundbreaking for Klee's work: in over forty watercolors and drawings he intensified the colors and largely detached his motifs from representational references. Klee translates architecture and landscape into abstract, grid-shaped color fields like in the watercolor Rote u. white domes (Rote u. weisse Kuppeln). This new visual language is already laid out in the watercolor, Memory of a Garden, which was created shortly before the trip. Klee himself emphasized that it was only the Tunis trip that brought this color and shape development with it. In his diary, which was revised after the trip, there is the famous passage: “It penetrates me so deeply and gently, I feel it and become so secure, without diligence. The color has me. I don't need to reach for her. That is the meaning of the happy hour: I and the color are one. I am a painter. ”In the years that followed, he repeatedly fell back on the artistic approches that were perfected in the Mediterranean climate, including when depicting Central European nature.

Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, photo: Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf
Paul Klee, Red and White Cupolas (Rote und weisse Kuppeln), 1914, watercolor and gouache on paper on cardboard, 14.6 x 13.7 cm, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf


In 1928/29 Klee traveled to Egypt. While he expressed disappointment in his letters and postcards about the architecture and living conditions found there, he was enthusiastic about nature. His impressions are particularly echoed after the trip, as in the painting Necropolis (Nekropolis, 1929), which was painted shortly after his return. The principle that Klee himself referred to as “cardinal progression” is associated with the trip to Egypt: the strongly geometrical forms of his stripes, as in measured fields (vermessene Felder, 1929), are traced back to the division of fields that Klee saw along the Nile.

Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, photo: Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf
Paul Klee, measured fields (vermessene Felder), 1929, watercolor and pencil on paper on cardboard, 30.4 x 45.8 cm, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, photo: Jens Ziehe
Paul Klee, Nekropolis, 1929, 63 x 44 cm, oil paint on nettle cloth on plywood, National Gallery (Nationalgalerie), Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Photo: Jens Ziehe
Paul Klee, Portal of a Mosque (Portal einer Moschee), 1931, 37.5 x 29 cm, pen and watercolor on paper and Cardboard box, National Gallery (Nationalgalerie), Staatliche Museen zu Berlin



Please note that due to the corona pandamic there will be special admission and hygiene regulations in our museums until further notice: The number of visitors is limited, taking into account the spacial capacities. All visitors from 6 years of age undertake to wear a mask, keep a minimum distance of 1.5 meters, follow the signposted tours and avoid group formation in the rooms. The visit is only possible with a time slot ticket, which can be booked online in advance:

Klee in North Africa
1914 Tunisia | Egypt 1928

until January 10, 2021

Museum Berggruen
Schloßstraße 1 | 14059 Berlin
Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Sat + Sun 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

Unfinished Metropolis

Berlin | Exhibition | until 3.1.2021
+++ Please inform yourself about the current opening times. +++

The New Municipality of Berlin, also called  Greater Berlin, was created one hundred years ago on 1 October 1920. It was a once-in-a-century event! The old Berlin was consolidated with seven cities, 59 rural communities and 27 agricultural estates. The exhibition uses exemplary locations, projects and plans to explore topics that have shaped and changed the metropolis of Berlin.

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