Paul Klee—Ad Parnassum

Landmarks of Swiss Art

Paul Klee’s studies on polyphonic painting: the beginning of a new period



Title Information

Oskar Bätschmann. Edited by Angelika Affentranger-Kirchrath

1st edition

, 2021

Texts in English and German

96 pages, 33 color illustrations

21.5 x 25 cm

ISBN 978-3-03942-011-7


In the 1920s, German-Swiss artist Paul Klee (1879–1940) began his long-lasting engagement with polyphonic art—multi-voiced way of painting analogous to musicA relentless experimenter, Klee began these studies while teaching at the Bauhaus in Dessau, developed them further during his tenure at the art academy in Düsseldorf, and brought them to conclusion after his return to Switzerland in 1933. In this book, distinguished art historian Oskar Bätschmann explores Klee’s seminal painting Ad Parnassum (1932). Painted shortly after the artist’s departure from the Bauhaus, it symbolizes a new era, also one of Klee’s own self-discovery. Bätschmann documents how the artist strove for a connection of music and painting in his color hues and in the rhythmic movement of colored dots.

Richly illustrated, this book places Klee’s polyphonic understanding of art in an art-historical context by using this key work and offers insight into the synesthetic thinking that emerged in the art world during that time.



Oskar Bätschmann was a professor of early modern art history at the University of Bern until 2009. He was a member of the Paul-Klee-Stiftung and co-initiator of the Catologue raisonné of the artist published from 1998 to 2004. 


Also available in the series Landmarks of Swiss Art:

Franz Gertsch—Rüschegg

Sophie Taeuber-Arp—Equilibre

Authors & Editors
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Please send the following high resolution images:


Mount Niesen, 1915, 250 watercolor over pencil on paper, 17,7 × 26 cm. Kunstmuseum Bern, Rupf-Stiftung, Inv. Z 17

View of Kairouan 1914, 73. 8,4 × 21,1 cm. Kochel am See, Franz- Marc-Museum (Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen)

Ancient Sound 1925, 236. oil on cardboard, 38,1 × 37,8 cm. Basel, Kunstmuseum, Vermächtnis Richard Doetsch-Benziger, Inv. G 1960.25

through a window, 1932, 194. oil on gauze on cardboard, 30 × 51,5 cm. Bern, Zentrum Paul Klee, gift of Livia Klee

Full Moon, 1919, 232. oil on paper on cardboard, 49,8 × 38 cm. Munich, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Pinakothek der Moderne, Inv. 15249

Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky, Hendaye, August 1929, photographer: Nina Kandinsky, 18,1 × 12,9 cm. Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, gift of Klee family

Artist’s Attestation, Bern, March 1936. Bern, Kunstmuseum, Inv. 1427

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