With its collections of ancient, modern and contemporary art, the Musée de Grenoble offers you a chance to traverse the history of western painting from the 13th to the 20th centuries. Included are major masterpieces of classical Flemish, Dutch, Italian and Spanish painting; one of 20th century Europe’s richest collections; and all the great post-1945 contemporary art trends, right up to the most recent artworks of the 2000s.
Wavering between a musical career and the visual arts, Paul Klee enrolled at the Munich Academy in 1899. He moved to that city and, in 1911, became involved with the activities of the Blaue Reiter group; the journeys he made in 1914 in North Africa helped him to find his own language.
At the same time, his drawings took a more symbolic turn and presented motifs like ladders, parallel lines and arrows… while his vibrant watercolours attained a perfection of crystalline transparency. In 1921, when he joined the Bauhaus as an instructor, his teaching, like his writings of that time, revealed a conception of art steeped in German Romanticism and Hegel’s philosophy.
Landscape with Child was produced early on in his Bauhaus period. The small format picture is made up of motifs of trees and houses, simple and naïve, along with a child placed at bottom left. These “signs”, distributed over the canvas in a sort of right-angled grid, are layered height-wise, and can be deciphered like a musical score.
The monochrome pink, blue and purple shades are brightened here and there by touches of yellow. The fine layers of paint play on their superposition and transparency. Landscape with Child, a wonderful little work whose silver frame highlighted with purples has been conserved, opens up a world of intense poetry, a subdued case made for this synthesis of arts so dear to Paul Klee.
Landscape with Child, 1923
© Musée de Grenoble