Art dealer of the Avantgarde
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Paul Klee

18.12.1879 Münchenbuchsee near Bern, Switzerland - 29.06.1940 Muralto, Switzerland
Alfred Flechtheim and Paul Klee

After studying more or less as an autodidact with brief periods of tuition under Heinrich Knirr and Franz von Stuck in Munich, Paul Klee’s naturalistically sensitive drawings initially found acclaim in the Blauer Reiter circle of artists and in Herwarth Walden’s ‘Der Sturm’ in Berlin. Together with Paul Cassirer and Heinrich Thannhauser, Walden initially became his most important dealer. The abstract watercolours Klee painted on a trip to Tunis in 1914, in particular, resulted in the first sale of his works during World War I and praise from German art critics. Following his appointment to the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar in 1919, the format of his works, his painting technique and his supports changed, as did the formal vocabulary of Klee’s artistic style. Amorphous and geometrical elements, lineal structures and an encrypted pictorial language became characteristic features. Klee also wrote art theoretical theses.

Klee’s plan to move permanently to Düsseldorf after accepting a professorship in 1931 at the academy there was thwarted when the National Socialists seized power. In 1933 Klee had to endure his house in Dessau being searched and the confiscation of personal documents, as well as being publicly defamed as a ‘Galacian’ Jew, made to take compulsory leave and ultimately dismissed from his post as professor at the end of that year. Klee had to emigrate to Bern.

In 1937, 102 of the artist’s works were removed from public collections. Flechtheim first sought to establish a business contact with Klee in 1919. The artist had, however, already signed a sole agency agreement with Hans Goltz of Munich that ran until 1925. Nevertheless, Goltz sent works by Klee to Flechtheim on a ‘sale on commission’ basis. After founding the Klee Society in 1925, Klee managed his own business with various gallery owners, including Flechtheim, who received works to be sold on commission.

Klee gave Flechtheim a watercolour for his 50th birthday and submitted a contribution to the anniversary issue of ‘Der Querschnitt’. Flechtheim retaliated the following year. Between 1926 and 1933 both illustrations and reproductions of Klee’s works were published in ‘Der Querschnitt’. In 1933 Klee asked the galleries that represented him, including Flechtheim’s, to return his works and moved his marketing abroad. A general agreement made with Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler and the Galerie Simon came into effect from October 1933 onwards. In November 1933 Klee withdrew his claims against Flechtheim so as not to bring about his bankruptcy. Flechtheim even managed to organise an exhibition with Klee held in January 1934 in the Mayor Gallery in London for which he arranged for works to be sent to England from Germany. Apart from Klee and Flechtheim, the Mayor Gallery and the Galerie Simon in Paris also had a share in sales.

According to a contemporary witness, a work by Paul Klee – the identity and whereabouts of which remain unknown – was supposedly among those paintings still in Betty Flechtheim’s flat in Berlin at the time she committed suicide which were later confiscated.
Individual exhibitons at the Galerie Flechtheim

März bis Ostern 1928

Paul Klee
Galerie Alfred Flechtheim Berlin W 10, Lützowufer 13

Oktober bis November 1929

Paul Klee
Galerie Alfred Flechtheim Berlin W 10, Lützowufer 13

Februar bis März 1930

Paul Klee. Aquarelle, Zeichnungen und Graphik aus 25 Jahren
Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Düsseldorf Königsallee 34

Juni–Juli 1931

Paul Klee, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen. Veranstaltet in Verbindung mit der Galerie Alfred Flechtheim
Düsseldorf, Hindenburgwall 42

November–Dezember 1931

Paul Klee. Neue Bilder und Aquarelle
Berlin, Lützowufer 13



Group exhibitions at the Galerie Flechtheim

Juli–August 1919

Auf dem Wege zur Kunst unserer Zeit. Vorkriegsbilder und Bildwerke
Düsseldorf, Königsallee 34

März–April 1920

In memoriam Lehmbruck † Paul Klee, Walter Tanck
Düsseldorf, Königsallee 34

Oktober 1921

Deutsche und französische Kunst aus dem XX. Jahrhundert.
Berlin, Lützowufer 13

Juni–August 1927

Das Problem der Generation. Die um 1880 geborenen Meister von heute. Dritter Teil: Die anderen Deutschen
Berlin, Lützowufer 13

September 1927

Nell Walden-Heimann und ihre Sammlungen
Berlin, Lützowufer 13

September–Oktober 1928

Lebende ausländische Kunst. Aus rheinischem Privatbesitz
Düsseldorf, Königsallee 34

Sommer 1929

Sommer 1929
Berlin W 10, Lützowufer 13 und Düsseldorf

Sommer 1930

Sommer 1930: Renoir und lebende Meister
Berlin, Düsseldorf, (Lützowufer, Königsallee)

November–Dezember 1930

Seit Liebermann in Deutschland. Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Graphik
Düsseldorf, Königsallee 34

Februar–März 1933

Lebendige deutsche Kunst. Ausstellungsfolge in drei Abteilungen. Veranstaltet von Paul Cassirer und Alfred Flechtheim. Dritte Ausstellung beim Kunstsalon Paul Cassirer
Berlin, Viktoriastraße 35

April 1927

Landschaften aus Cagnes und Stilleben von Auguste Renoir / Paul Klee. Ölgemälde und Aquarelle
Düsseldorf, Königsallee 34

Dezember 1928

Paul Klee, Renée Sintenis
Brüssel, Galerie Le Centaure

Januar–Februar 1934

Paul Klee
London, The Mayor Gallery

Februar 1929

Paul Klee
Paris, Galerie Georges Bernheim

November bis Dezember 1924

Ohne Titel
Galerie Flechtheim Düsseldorf, Königsallee 34

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