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Paul Klee ›Distel-Bild‹ - An Allegory of Love & Learning

Stephen, Ann


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    "description": "<p>The essay proposes a new reading for <em>Distel-bild</em> [<em>Thistle-painting</em>, 1924], one of Paul Klee\u2019s Sonderklasse (special class) of works that has long eluded interpretation. Painted at the beginning of Klee\u2019s third year of teaching at the Bauhaus during a time of significant change, <em>Distel-bild</em> is no ordinary landscape or garden setting as the thistle, that is not a thistle, is a double-coded object. Adopting an allegorical mode, Klee casts the divisive debates of the early Bauhaus years in the language of a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale. The essay argues that\u00a0the painting both gently mocks and celebrates Johannes Itten\u2019s role as a Bauhaus master and imagines how such ideas would spread. This new interpretation that aims to unlock the mystery of the painting\u2019s organic and geometric forms, is informed by the broader reassessment of Klee as an intelectual engaged with contemporary ideas and avant-garde movements, rather than as a remote, na\u00efve romantic.</p>", 
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