Go back

Paul Klee. Music and Theatre in Life and Work

February 23, 2018 - June 9, 2018

Klee - Spring in Munich: This spring, three exhibitions in and near Munich are devoted to Paul Klee’s oeuvre, each to a different aspect.


The Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, the Franz Marc Museum in Kochel, and Galerie Thomas, together will present more than 210 works by Paul Klee.

The exhibition ‘Paul Klee – Music and Theatre in Life and Work’ at Galerie Thomas with high quality loans from private and public collections in Europe and the USA traces Paul Klee’s musical tracks and his great interest in opera and the theatre. 

The artist not only used his easel as a music stand for the daily violin playing, but also developed his own figurative translation of musical elements such as melody, rhythm or polyphony. In musical, dance-like lines, Klee created concrete ‘acoustic images’ and let musical instruments such as flute, horn, and kettle drum or special symbols of musical notation such as fermata or clef call the tune in his paintings. Representations of stage characters and masks, which illustrate Klee‘s passion for opera and theatre, are another focus of the exhibition at Galerie Thomas.

Klee was not only a visual artist, but also a musician. The son of a music teacher and a singer, who already played professional concerts in his youth, found it difficult to decide between the two professions. Although he eventually decided in favour of painting, his close affinity with music never waned: all his life he was an impassioned violinist and an enthusiastic and critical attendee of concerts and opera performances, especially in Munich.

With around 40 paintings, watercolours and drawings from 1914 to 1939, Galerie Thomas illustrates how Klee was preoccupied with music throughout all phases of his creative life. They include known works, as well as those that have only rarely been seen in exhibitions, if at all, until now. The highlight of the exhibition is the painting The Singer L. as Fiordiligi, 1923, a work that Klee not only prepared very carefully, but also repeated several times. He recreated the figure no less than five times, more than any other motif in his oeuvre. Two versions can be seen in the exhibition: the first work from 1923 and the subsequent hand-coloured lithograph of 1923, which was derived from it and which Klee gave away only to selected collectors. Another version is owned by the Bavarian State Painting Collections, Munich, and will be simultaneously on display in the exhibition at the Pinakothek der Moderne. 

Besides the private lenders, we are also grateful to public museums for their support with loans: Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Germany; Franz Marc Museum, Kochel am See, Germany; Ulmer Museum, Ulm, Germany, and others.

The exhibition is curated by Dr. Christine Hopfengart, the former head of the Paul Klee Foundation, Bern, Switzerland. 


Accompanying Programme

Supporting the exhibition, Galerie Thomas is organizing five themed evenings which illustrate Klee’s connection to music and the theatre.

It will start with a hand puppet theatre, followed by two concert evenings, a reading with ‘singing violinist’ and another musical evening with two prepared grand pianos.

Detailed programme of the Klee evenings at Galerie Thomas and information on the registration


To accompany the exhibition, the eponymous catalogue book edited by Christine Hopfengart will be published by Wienand Verlag. With several contributions, from the art historical as well as the musicological side, the richly illustrated catalogue provides an insight into Klee‘s ‘Double Life’ as an artist and musician – his particular existence as ‘painter-violinist“ – and the artistic stress field in which he moved. 

Apart from numerous photographs from Klee’s private life and the contemporary theatre and music scene, all exhibited works are illustrated in the catalogue in full page colour images.

Paul Klee – Music and Theatre in Life and Work
Edited by Christine Hopfengart
288 pages, 154 images
ISBN 978-3-86832-423-5
German / English
Wienand Verlag

Catalogue price € 38,-
(plus shipping: € 7,- for Germany, € 17,- outside Germany)
>> Order

Go back

A short notice at the request of the EU: This website uses cookies in order to offer its users certain services.
None of the thereby collected data will be used to identify or contact you.