Paul Klee, “Highways and Byways” (1929)

An aerial view: Paul Klee, "Highways and Byways" (1929)

Using his “strata” as building blocks, Klee offers an aerial or “bird’s eye” view as the landscape appears obliquely to create the illusion of perspective and relief. Here complexity emerges geometrically by successive doublings from a central “highway” to create “byways”, smaller areas of dense strata, only to be lost again inversely by successively halving their number. Far ahead, the central “highway” appears to be approaching the water, probably the river Nile as Klee’s “strata” paintings came after his trip to Egypt. Interestingly, Klee’s imaginative title of this painting suggests an interpretation other than the cultivated plots for his colored strata.

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