Paul Klee only rarely took an interest in perspectival constructions of spaces, architectures and places. Very early in his work, rather than traditional central perspective, he opted for free methods of construction which were inspired above all by Cubist ideas of composition, but which also took them further. Another source of inspiration lies in the metaphysical squares and architectures of the Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico. De Chirico’s works from the 1910s, with their empty, dream-like squares and rooms, had a great influence on a wide range of artists, particularly the Surrealists. In "Room Perspective with Inhabitants" the relationship with de Chirico’s works is clearly apparent. Klee constructs the view into a room in a simple way. It shows a few cubical pieces of furniture and the inhabitants. Klee "builds" the inhabitants into the perspective: three figures seem to lie on the floor, three more stick to the right-hand wall. They are not depicted as three-dimensional bodies, but as constructions of flat forms. They thus contradict the three-dimensionality of the perspectival construction by being simply flat.
A pencil drawing and a 1921 version of the "Room perspective" have been preserved. A similar colour composition entitled "Room Perspective with Dark Door" was produced a short time before. Klee transferred the colour version to the picture support using an oil transfer. For that reason the pencil drawing reveals scoring marks that can be produced when scoring with a sharp object. Four years later Klee reworked both "Room Perspectives" and renamed them "The Other Ghost Chamber" and "Ghost Chamber with the High Door". Accordingly the two-dimensional human figures became ghosts from another realm.
We present today's masterpiece thanks to Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern where until March 12th, you can see the exhibition "Paul Klee and the Surrealists". It is the first comprehensive exploration of Paul Klee’s relationship with Surrealist artists in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s. The exhibition assembles a large number of works by Surrealists including Max Ernst, Joan Miró, Hans Arp, Alberto Giacometti, André Masson and Salvador Dalí. I wish I could go to Bern and see it <3
If you read our stories and like them please consider supporting us financially. We would be able to grow and share art in more and more places. Every 10 dollars counts :) Find more info here. Thank you!