Klee: Highway and Byways 1929 ; Oil on canvas, 32 5/8 x 26 3/8 in;

“This is the most important painting to come out of Paul Klee‘s trip to Egypt, from mid-December, 1929, to early January, 1930. He visited Luxor, Karnak, Thebes, Aswan, and Cairo. The journey was nearly as great an experience as the earlier one to Tunisia. He must surely have had a fairly clear idea of what he was looking for. It is noteworthy that certain works done long before the journey exhibit similarities to the works inspired by Egypt.”


highways and byways

The work was painted about six months after his journey. The pictorial ideas were left to mature until the meaning of the incomparable land could be communicated in a way hitherto unknown, until Ka, the land’s very source and substance, had entered into the picture. In this pattern of fields all is order, timeless structure, with a poetic element added – for what could be more poetic than an Egypt born again out of invented means, in twentieth-century creative language?”

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