Klee and America accompanies the first large-scale exhibition of Paul Klee’s (1879–1940) work to take place in the United States in almost two decades. Despite his recent low profile in the country, the work of the German-born artist has a long history of enthusiastic reception in the United States, especially during the 1930s and 1940s. By the early 1920s, Klee was one of the leading figures within the European modernist movement, often mentioned alongside Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Over the next few decades, his acclaim was quickly paralleled in the United States, where both private collectors and major museums sought out his works with increased passion. The authors explore what attracted early collectors to Klee’s work, the effect of the political and economic upheavals in Europe prior to and during World War II on his reputation, and the legacy he left American artists of the mid-20th century. Includes a chronology, detailed American exhibition history, and selected bibliography.
About the Authors
Josef Helfenstein is the director of the Menil Collection, where he curated Experiments with Truth (2014) and Walter De Maria: Trilogies (2011). He has published extensively on modern and contemporary art and was the principal author of the accompanying publications.
Elizabeth Hutton Turner is the vice president for collections and curatorial affairs for the Terra Foundation of American Art and former senior curator at the Phillips Collection, where her projects included Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction (2009) and Calder/Miró: A New Space for the Imagination (2004).
Jenny Anger is a professor of art history at Grinnell College and the author of Paul Klee and the Decorative in Modern Art (2004).
Michael Baumgartner is the head of the Department of Collections, Exhibitions, and Research at Zentrum Paul Klee and contributed texts to Klee and Kandinsky: Neighbors, Friends, Rivals (2015) and Paul Klee: Life and Work (2013).
Bradford A. Epley is chief conservator at the Menil Collection. A specialist in modern painting, he has published on Victor Brauner, Paul Klee, and others
Christa Haiml is a painting conservator at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and a former fellow in conservation at the Menil Collection.
Charles W. Haxthausen is a professor of art history at Williams College and editor of The Two Art Histories: The Museum and the University (2002).
Osamu Okuda is a researcher and archivist at Zentrum Paul Klee as well as a practicing artist.