From the auction lot notes:
“Klee left Germany in 1933, following Hitler’s ascendancy to power, and settled in Bern, where he had grown up as child. He produced a prolific body of work during the final years of his life, even while he battled the symptoms of scleroderma, a terminal skin disease. The artist was initially bedridden, but he learned to cope with his condition by sitting at a large drawing table instead of standing at an easel (fig. 1). He produced 25 works in 1936, a number which quickly jumped to 264 in 1937, 489 in 1938, and over 1,200 in 1939. Klee wrote to his son Felix, “Productivity is accelerating in range and at a highly accelerated tempo; I can no longer entirely keep up with these children of mine. They run away with me. There is a certain adaptation taking place, in that drawings preponderate. Twelve hundred items in 1939 is really something of a record performance” (quoted in F. Klee, Paul Klee: His Life and Work in Documents, New York, 1962, p. 72)
The present work displays the concisely rendered graphic elements and simplified colors that comprise the formal vocabulary of the artist’s late style. Klee has used strong black lines to structure an underlying field of irregular areas of flatly applied colors. Matthias Barmann has suggested that the artist’s stylistic transition during this period stemmed in part from his declining health: “Tracing the effects of scleroderma and its specific symptoms is complex, since these, apart from affecting his work on the physiological level, had psychological repercussions even down to the emergence of certain stylistic characteristics. His reduced, sign-like repertoire gave Klee, who was aware of how little time remained to him, a spontaneous outlet for his enormous creative urge. Also the archaic traits of the ‘bar-writing’ characteristic especially of the very last paintings my have represented a productive reaction to his restricted mobility” (in Paul Klee: Fulfillment in the Late Work, Hanover, 2003, p. 15) …”
Related literature: The Paul Klee Foundation, ed., Paul Klee: Catalogue Raisonné, New York, 2003, vol. 7, p. 330, no. 7208 (illustrated).