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Update:February 27, 2013

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Paul KLEE "Anatomy of Aphrodite"

"Anatomy of Aphrodite"

Paul KLEE (1879-1940)
1915, 20 x 13.6cm (cardboard 30.3 x 22.3)
Watercolor, chalk ground, on paper mounted on cardboard

Between the years 1913 and '15 Klee concentrated on abstract themes. In World War I, Klee wrote in his diary, "The more this world is consumed in fear the more abstract painting becomes, while, the happier the world becomes the more secular art flourishes." For himself, Klee sought to create a romantic type of abstraction with an element of pathos. This work falls into this category. While showing figurative images in the two green eyes and the genitals, there is also abundant use of red, suggesting blood.
The word anatomy perhaps comes from the way irregular shapes are scattered across the picture plane. We can see this as a dissection of the classical secular or "worldly art" which Aphrodite is so representative of. We also find that Klee took a pair of scissors to this painting. The work we see here is the center of a painting from which the right and left sides have been cut off. The two side pieces were mounted upside down on a piece of backing paper to create another work. There is a subtle irony in the fact that, in doing a painting of the goddess of love and beauty, he not only dissect her thematically but also dissected the painting as well.