Congenial Spirits: Klee and Noland

(left) Paul Klee, Young Moe, 1938. Colored paste on newspaper on burlap, 20 7/8 x 27 5/8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Acquired 1948. (right) Kenneth Noland, In the Garden, 1952. Oil on hardboard, 19 1/2 x 30 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Acquired 1952.

I was dumbstruck when I first saw Paul Klee’s painting Young Moe (1938) up in the Klee Room. How had I never before recognized the apparent influence of this Klee in Kenneth Noland’s In the Garden (1952)?

As a Museum Assistant, I spend a lot of time looking at the art in various galleries, and Young Moe and In the Garden have both been consistently on display during my time at the Phillips. It seems the echos of Klee in Noland’s work are far from accidental–as a young artist in Washington, D.C., Noland spent a lot of time at The Phillips Collection and in the original Klee Room itself.

To make way for the upcoming Joseph Marioni installation, the Noland piece is currently taking a break from the museum walls. You can still find Young Moe in the Klee Room through the end of the year.

Have you noticed resonances between other works at the Phillips? Please post your observations as a comment here.

Piper Grosswendt, Museum Assistant/Marketing Intern