Paul Klee at the Tate



On Saturday evening we found ourselves at the Tate. We had headed down to the Southbank to meet Grannie for a cup of tea and various friends stopped by to have a drink with us. Suddenly realising that the exhibitions were open until 10pm and it was our last chance to visit Paul Klee– Making Visible, we decided to make an evening of it.

Pip thoroughly enjoyed Klee’s work. It is plain and simple enough that she was able to identify colours and shapes, and some of the paintings even made her sing “twinkle-twinkle”. It was fascinating exploring the work through her eyes and I was impressed at her knowledge of colours, shapes and interpretation. We also spent some time drawing some of his work in her sketch book. This is something I spend a lot of time doing when I visit an exhibition (here’s a post I wrote about visiting Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture garden) and it was a real pleasure to continue this with Pip. I also feel I really look and analyse a work so much more when I try and translate some of it into my sketchbook. Marto, Pip and I sat on the floor in the corner of one of the 17 rooms, discussing this piece:



Pip thought that the lines in Greeting (above) represented steps (‘deps’) and was able to identify the colours as blue, red and orange. We drew arrows and lines in her book and she helped colour in the various parts and then attempt to draw her own straight lines as well.

This is the one she said “star” and “diamond” and started singing “twinkle-twinkle”:


Personally, I found the exhibition fascinating and also a little sad. Something about the time in which Klee was working, the futility of the situation expressed through some of his work and then his degenerative approach to the end of his life, his inner thoughts played out through his final pieces and exhibition and death in 1940. His use of colour is beautiful, and once again, I really enjoyed placing the Klee I thought I knew in the context of both what he actually did and the canon of artists within which he worked.

(I really must tell you about our trip to the Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen (Pollack) and the Design Museum there too. One day!)

IMAGE 1: Paul Klee Redgreen and Violet-Yellow Rhythms 1920 Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Berggruen Klee Collection, 1984 (1984.315.19) Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Source: Art Resource/Scala Photo Archives via Tate Modern 

IMAGE 2: Greeting, 1922 by Paul Klee: ‘charmingly titled, as if to point out (as arrows do) that a piquant encounter is taking place’. Photograph: Wadsworth Atheneum Museum Of Art/WAD via Guardian

IMAGE 3: Opened Mountain, 1914 (detail). Photograph: Private collection via Guardian



  1. laura redburn March 11, 2014 / 3:13 pm

    love the first painting, i really think he had a fantastic sense of colour. it’s so awesome to hear she was enjoying the art and could get something from it 🙂

  2. Polly Davies March 11, 2014 / 4:52 pm

    We love going to the Tate in Liverpool – fascinating for the kiddos

  3. Claire March 11, 2014 / 5:08 pm

    Lovely post. Sounds like a wonderful visit. I wish we lived near a big Art Gallery like the Tate. Our local Theatre has exhibitions so we always visit them- I must remember our sketchbooks from now on. Thanks for reminding me! 🙂 x

  4. fritha March 12, 2014 / 10:10 pm

    it’s been aaaages since I’ve been to the Tate, I good reminder to visit again, with Wilf one day too! x

  5. abigail oliver March 13, 2014 / 8:07 am

    sounds like a great trip and a really good thing to do with a little one! Really sweet to hear her interpretation of the paintings

  6. Katie Clark March 13, 2014 / 12:04 pm

    This is a great post; isn’t it wonderful when children are interested in and can access art. We love going to local art galleries. Thanks for sharing

  7. Nayna Kanabar (@citrusspiceuk) March 13, 2014 / 1:21 pm

    I am not a fan of modern art as I just can’t see the logic in some paintings. But the colours in that 1st pics are very pleasing.

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