Revolving House Paul Klee Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Revolving House combines colour, sketch and painting for a powerful abstract artwork

In a trio of essays, subsequently published as Creative Confessions, Paul Klee wrote: "Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible."

In his 1921 painting, Revolving House, the constituent parts of the building are separated and made individually visible.

The separation of the components from the basic house outline of four walls and a pyramid-shaped roof and his placement of them in a spiral design is a successful device which keeps the viewer's attention engaged in the structure.

Paul Klee was an accomplished draughtsman. During his first year at art school, his skill as a colourist was yet to develop and he mainly concentrated on drawing. This painting resembles an engineer's exploded diagram.

His chosen support for the painting allowed him to bring the nature of the building into its representation. He used coarse calico cloth stretched over cardboard and scrubbed his paint into the grain, using mainly earth colours such as bright yellow ochres and raw and burnt umbers.

His use of the oil paint in this way added texture to the background and the subsequent painting, with additions in pencil, has the rough quality of building materials.

In all, we see seven windows in the house. He painted three different styles of arched windows and their metal fanlight frames provide a sharp graphic quality to the design. An entrance door, topped with a less ornate fanlight, seems very small in comparison with the other elements, especially the tall brick chimney.

A path leads to front door and draws the eye towards the centre of the image.

Revolving House was painted in the same year Klee began teaching at the Bauhaus. The original is part of the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection and can be seen at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid.