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Travel Tip: Art and Archaeology in United States
Klee and America

Klee and America
WASHINGTON, D.C.  •  The Phillips Collection  •  Ongoing

Unlike other European modern artists, Paul Klee (1879-1940) was never enraptured with American popular culture. By the same token, Americans remained largely dispassionate about the Swiss-born Klee’s work when it was first introduced to America in the 1920s. By the end of the decade, only two major private Klee collectors existed in the country, Galka Scheyer in California and Katherine Dreier in New York. In 1924, critic Henry McBride underscored the enigmatic nature of Klee’s work, describing him as “that strange meteor from Switzerland” on the pages of the New York Herald.

Klee and America investigates the long and complex history of Klee’s reception in the U.S. from the 1920s to 1950s, and the lasting influence of his work on American artists of the mid-20th century. Comprising some 80 works, the exhibition explores why American collectors–including The Phillips Collection’s founder, Duncan Phillips–were attracted to Klee’s work, and how it came to be championed by the abstract expressionists of the 1940s and 1950s. It  opens in conjunction with the focus exhibition When We Were Young: New Perspectives on the Art of the Child, which features contemporary children’s drawings alongside several historical childhood drawings by Klee and Pablo Picasso.

The Phillips Collection Web Site

Contact: Tel: (1) 202 387 21 51

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