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Klee Goes to Hollywood - Clifford Odets and His Favorite Artist

Okuda, Osamu

It’s fairly well known that American dramatist and scriptwriter Clifford Odets (1906-1963) collected many artworks by Paul Klee shortly after World War II. A photograph taken in 1951 showing Odets in his study next to a wall covered with closely hung Klee works offers particularly important historical documentation of the reception that Klee’s works received in the United States and has often appeared in essays and catalogues focusing on that theme However, very little research has been conducted on how Odets built his Klee collection or what specific works it included. In fall of last year, I started investigating the many unknown aspects of Odets’ Klee collection as part of an editing project for a digital edition of Klee’s oeuvre. In the process, I began to feel it was necessary not just to reconstruct Odets’ collection, but to understand it in terms of his work as a dramatist and the historical conditions in which he lived. This article is an interim report on the progress I’ve made thus far. 

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