Paul Klee and Pablo Picasso Exhibits in Bern

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Klee and Picasso – Two giants of art history

5 years Zentrum Paul Klee.

With a homage to Paul Klee and Pablo Picasso the Zentrum Paul Klee presents these two imposing exponents of modern art. The exhibition takes as its theme Klee’s analysis of Picasso and reveals unknown interwoven links. It shows how both artists, in quite different ways, wrote a new chapter of art history in the 20th century. A confrontation of two artistic universes and a cultural highlight of international significance.

Differences and similarities

Klee and Picasso are esteemed as outstanding antipodes of the history of 20th century art, and as artistic person-alities could hardly have been more different. One Mediterranean and worldly, the other romantic and spiritual: Klee’s poetic expression and his leaning towards satire and irony stand in contrast to Picasso’s drama, his sensual-ity and his pathos.

Despite all their differences in temperament, Klee and Picasso still belonged to the same generation and worked on a renewal of art from the sources of human creative energy. Also in the diversity of their pictorial language and in their unusual inventiveness they were similar to one another.

Picasso was a natural phenomenon. He drew all contemporaries under his spell and provoked them into either approval or opposition. Klee was also deeply impressed by Picasso. But as a great individualist he did not simply succumb to his influence, but set out with the aim of understanding the „Spaniard”. His artistic dialogue dis-played a mixture of admiration and critical irony, of acceptance and contradiction.

Picasso meets Klee

Klee and Picasso most probably met each other personally on two occasions during their life time: In 1933 in Picasso’s studio in Paris and in 1937 at Paul Klee’s house in Berne. Apart from this, both artists knew about one another and had seen each other’s works in exhibitions and publications. And now – over 70 years later – the two great masters meet again: in a unique exhibition at the Zentrum Paul Klee which illustrates in detail the complex relationship of the artists to one another.

Picture dialogues

The Picture Dialogues between Klee and Picasso are at the centre of the exhibition. It shows Picasso as a preco-cious child prodigy and Klee as a critical outsider, and places works from Picasso’s Blue and Pink periods oppo-site Klee’s satirical glass paintings. It shows major works by Picasso from the Cubist period and Klee’s response to this great revolution in the history of art in the 20th century. His painting < Homage to Picasso> from 1914 is the only tribute Klee ever accorded another artist.

A focal point of the exhibition consists of Picasso’s works from his surrealist phase in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The deformed bodies and distorted faces from this creative period coincided with Klee’s grotesque fantasies, and led to a pictorial conversation which profoundly influenced Klee’s late works in the 1930’s. Picasso’s large scale paint-ings and in particular his „Large Women” induced Klee to abandon his characteristic small scale format and cre-ate large canvases. And Picasso’s drastic depictions of emotions were also taken up by Klee and from these he developed the possibility of formulating expressive moods.

Despite all the stimulation which Klee derived from Picasso, he nevertheless always maintained his independence which makes his work unmistakable. As a great individualist, Klee formulated Picasso’s ideas for himself, and from Picasso‘s drama and sensuality, made compositions full of sensibility and poetry. In addition Klee’s pictorial commentaries were seldom without a deeper meaning or irony. Particularly Picasso’s pathos provoked him to parodistic commentaries.

The exhibition comprises over 180 works from the Zentrum Paul Klee, from numerous museums and private collections, such as famous collections in the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Museu Picasso, Barcelona, the Collection Berggruen, the National Gallery Berlin or the Centre Pompidou in Paris. A richly illustrated cata-logue accompanies the exhibition. The exhibition project is supported by the Picasso und Klee families.

Entrance tickets CHF 25/23/10

 Opening times Tue-Sun, 10-18 hours

Catalogue Klee meets Picasso. The publication deals for the first time with the complex relationship between the two artists by contrasting their greatest works. Published by Zentrum Paul Klee, with contributions by Bernhard Geiser, Gregor Wedekind and Christine Hopfengart. Richly illustrated catalogue with 284 pages, 252 reproductions, 186 in colour. Hatje Cantz Edition, Ostfildern, Deutschland. CHF 57

RailAway-Offer Benefit from 20% savings on train tickets, transfer and entrance fee. The RailAway-Offer is available at all train stations and at the Rail Service on 0900 300 300 (CHF 1.19/min. from the Swiss fixed-line network). More information:

Interactive Exhibition Paul and Pablo in the Kindermuseum Creaviva

Opening Sunday, 6th June 2010, 10 am

Entrance prices Entry free

Opening times Tues-Sun, 10-18 hours

Further information

Extra Programme for the exhibition

Sun 6th June, 10 am, Opening

interactive exhibition «Paul and Pablo»

Childrens’ Museum Creaviva, Entry free

Sun 6th June, 11 am, Opening «Klee meets Picasso»

Thurs 10th June, 18 hours, Special Event for the Circle of Friends «Klee meets Picasso»

Special guided tour with Dr. Christine Hopfengart, Curator

Thurs 17th June, 19 hours, (Schools performance: 10.15 am)

Junge Bühne Bern «Carmen in School»

CHF 20/15/10, incl. Workshop: CHF 30/25/20, Advance booking:

Fr 18th June, 19 hours, (Schools performance: 10.15 am)

Junge Bühne Bern «Carmen in School»

CHF 20/15/10, incl. Workshop: CHF 30/25/20, Advance booking:

Sat 9th June, 18 hours, Ensemble Paul Klee «La tragédie de Carmen», Chamber opera

CHF 38/28/18, with visit to the exhibition CHF 48/38/28

Sun 20th June, 17 hours, Ensemble Paul Klee «La tragédie de Carmen», Chamber opera

CHF 38/28/18, with visit to the exhibition CHF 48/38/28

Sun 20th June, 10 – 18 hours, Jubilee event «Open Day » Zentrum Paul Klee

Literary tour «Picasso, Klee and women »

Wed 16.6., 13 hours; Wed 23.6., 13 hours; Wed 30.6., 13 hours; Wed 11.8., 13 hours; Sun 22.8., 13.30 hours; Sun 5.9., 13.30 hours; Wed 15.9., 13 hours; Wed 22.9., 13 hours

CHF 25, no advance booking