Paul Klee, “Fire in the Evening” (1929)
With “Fire in the Evening”, Klee’s employs his “strata” structure of colored stripes and blocks to partly conceal or partly uncover a blue hour landscape scene. The work’s title provides instructions on how to read or decipher the composition and leaves no room for other interpretations. Developed through a geometric progression pattern, the strata provide only a partial view of the scene, making the detail denser only locally and away from the supposed fire, which is rendered as a centrally placed, glowing red block. Following Klee’s instructions, the land, the horizon and the sky are immediately identified and even a hint of twilight can be recognized, depicted as a long, pink stratum on the top of the picture.