Paul KleeVogelkomödie - Comedy of Birds. 1918.

Original chalk and pen-drawn lithograph, with textural rubbing, in black ink. 1918. Signed with the initial 'K' in the stone (see note below). From the edition of 45 impressions (plus 5 recorded proofs). Drawn by Klee for the 'Münchener Neuen Secession' - 'Munich New Secession' exhibition, 1919. Rare. Reference: E.W. Kornfeld - Paul Klee Verzeichnis des Graphischen Werkes no 69 b. Note: It is recorded that just some of the small edition of 45 impressions were hand-signed in ink by Klee, but it is not known how many. In either form this important early work is very rarely to be found. See also: Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Collection of the Paul Klee Museum. Provenance: Private Collection, South Germany. Excellent very strongly inked impression, showing all the linear and monochrome tonal variations that Klee created using the chalk, the penwork and the textures from rubbings, wiped ink and from his fingerprints. On pale cream Van Gelder Zonen watermarked paper. Paper surface excellent. Reverse of the sheet with slight paper toning from early framing. Full sheet: 510 x 364mm. Image: 425 x 215mm. This rarely to-be-found work dates from one of the most important formative periods of Klee's art in the years just after the First World War. In 1912 he had been in Paris and was influenced by the beginnings of the concepts of art derived not from the visual but from the feelings and sensations created by the subconscious mind. These were the ideas which led on, post-war, to Surrealism. It was also his increasing focus on this type of abstraction that led him on to his friendship with Kandinsky and in 1911-12 Klee joined him, and also artists such as Franz Marc and August Macke in Munich in the foundation of the key 'Sema' and 'Blaue Reiter' groups at the centre of the creation of the concept of 'abstract' art. This focus on 'abstract' ideas and the close association with Kandinsky, Jawlensky and Feininger as the 'Die Blaue Vier' - 'Blue Four' group, placed Klee with the most important artists at the very hub of avant-garde artistic thought. They all exhibited together in 1923-24 in Paris and then, importantly, in the United States. Klee's art always had a very strong graphic element, right from the earliest works around 1903-4 and his mysteriously grotesque figures. By 1918, as here, the forms are more freely created and inspired by random associations as in dreams. Klee had a unique and inspired style of drawing. He found that the graphic techniques which are unique to lithography - line variations, overprinted tone, rubbing, contrasts of transparency and density, fingerprints and inter-acting fine precision and total freedom - all became central to the visual creativity of his work. They are all superbly utilised in the 'Comedy of Birds' here.