stricken city klee

Stricken City, Paul Klee, gypsum and oil on canvas

That was the word that came to mind when I saw this in the current small exhibit of late Paul Klee at the Metropolitan on Saturday. Knowing Klee, without glancing at the title, it might have been his poetic heiroglyph for smoggy rain. But instead it srikes me as Guernica writ small. Let this be a warning to you if you’re an American suspected of terrorism, eh? You never know what arrow might strike from the skies. Klee did this one in the last years of his life, along with all the rest in the show. If you click to the Metropolitan page for this work, amazingly, you can enlarge the image until you actually are able to peer down clearly into the grooves of the surface. His lines are all incised into the gypsum. He never stopped experimenting. You can walk up and see this one right after you come out of the Matisse show, which is phenomenal and offered me new ways to see at least a dozen of that master’s works. More on that later.

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