Klee at the McNay

March 2, 2017 to May 7, 2017

This small, focused exhibition combines works by Paul Klee from the McNay’s collection with those from the collection of Robert L. B. Tobin, who was an avid collector and aficionado of the modern master’s work. This is the first time that many of these drawings, watercolors, and prints have been on view together.

Influenced by currents of modern art including Expressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism, Klee developed a highly individual and imaginative visual language that defies definition. Rather, he is seen as an artist’s artist, someone who was widely and critically influential to the development of many artists’ careers in Europe and the United States throughout the twentieth century. 


Klee’s Tightrope Walker is one of the artist’s most famous images. Created in 1923 when Klee was teaching at the Staatliches Bauhaus in Germany, the image represents the challenges an artist faces in balancing compositional forms as well as the role of the artist in society, the role of risk taker and challenger of social norms. It was a motif that Klee often used in his works throughout his career.

This exhibition is organized by the McNay Art Museum. The Elizabeth Huth Coates Exhibition Endowment and the Arthur and Jane Stieren Fund for Exhibitions are lead sponsors.

Paul Klee, Seiltanzer (Tightrope Walker) (detail), 1923. Lithograph.  

Collection of the McNay Art Museum. © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/V6 Bild-Kunst, Bonn.