Skip to Content
Arts of Europe

The MFAH collections of art created on the European continent encompass artistic styles across the time line of history, from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern era to the 21st century.

Swiss, 1879 - 1940
Watercolor on paper

16 2/5 x 12 1/3 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of Miss Ima Hogg

Arts of Europe

Born into a family of musicians, Paul Klee was an accomplished violinist. After much hesitation, he chose to study art. Alternately whimsical and spiritual, playful and rigorous, no other figure moved so effortlessly between such a variety of styles, subjects, and media as Klee. From 1898 to 1901, Klee studied in Munich, first with Heinrich Knirr, then at the Kunstakademie under Franz von Stuck. Next, Klee embarked on a series of trips abroad that nourished his visual sensibilities. After visiting Tunisia in 1914, he became entranced by color, which would become a dominant force of Klee's mature style. For the next 20 years, his paintings and watercolors showed a mastery of delicate, dreamlike color harmonies, which he manipulated to create flat, semi-abstract compositions.

This mosaic-like cityscape not only reveals his theoretical approach to color but also illustrates his skills as a draftsman. Klee taught at the Bauhaus, the most progressive arts and design school of the early 20th century, from 1921 to 1931. He was an eloquent writer, and his lectures, letters, and diaries—many published posthumously—have had a profound impact on artists and art theory.