The Centre Pompidou is proposing a journey through the work of a singular figure in modernity and one of the 20th century's most iconic artists: Paul Klee. This is the first major retrospective in France since the 1969 exhibition at the Musée National d'Art Moderne.
Featuring around two hundred and fifty works loaned by the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern and various major international and private collections, this retrospective casts a fresh look on Klee's work. It sheds light on the way he used irony through an approach originating in the early German Romanticism, consisting in a constant shift between a satire and the affirmation
of an absolute, finite and infinite, real and ideal. In this respect, Klee's use of irony is inspired by the philosopher Friedrich Schlegel: "Everything in it must be a joke, and everything must be serious: everything must be offered up with an open heart, and profoundly concealed." This new approach also explores Klee's relationship with his peers and the artistic movements
of his time.
The exhibition is divided into seven thematic sections highlighting each stage in Klee's artistic development: "Satirical beginnings" (the early years); "Klee and Cubism"; "Mechanical theatre" (in line with Dada and Surrealism); "Klee and Constructivism" (the Bauhaus years in Dessau); "Looking back" (the 1930's); "Klee and Picasso" (Klee's reaction after the Picasso retrospective in Zurich in 1932); and "The crisis years" (marked by Nazi policies, war and illness).