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The Man of Confusion

Paul Klee, Swiss, 1879–1940
Oil on canvas
Made in
Western Europe, Switzerland, Europe
Current Location
On View, Gallery 212
26 1/4 x 19 7/8 in. (66.7 x 50.5 cm)
framed: 27 1/4 x 20 7/8 x 1 1/4 in. (69.2 x 53 x 3.2 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Pulitzer Jr.
Public Domain
Object Number
Parts of the human body, including a wide-eyed face and two hands, float amidst amorphous flesh-toned forms. After Paul Klee was forced to leave Germany and return to his native Switzerland during the Nazi regime,he became afflicted with scleroderma, a chronic disease affecting the skin and organs of the body. Man of Confusion, painted a year before Klee’s death from the disease, presents a self-portrait of the artist in a state of mental and bodily distress.
Galerie Simon (Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler), Paris, France [1]

1939 - 1942
Nierendorf Gallery (Karl Nierendorf), New York, NY, USA, acquired from Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler [2]

1942 - 1952
Joseph Pulitzer Jr. (1913-1993) and Louise Vauclain Pulitzer (d.1968), St. Louis, MO, purchased from Nierendorf Gallery [3]

1952 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, given by Joseph Pulitzer Jr. and Louise Vauclain Pulitzer [4]

[1] Confirmed through archival material (correspondence and a shipping list dated November 17, 1939) by Eva Wiederkehr Sladeczek, head of the Paul Klee catalogue raisonné project at the Kunstmuseum Bern [Email dated July 1, 2002, SLAM document files].

[2] See note [1].

[3] Joseph Pulitzer acquired the painting from Nierendorf Gallery in October 1942 [Chetham, Charles Scott. "Modern Painting, Drawing & Sculpture Collected by Louise and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr." Cambridge, MA: Fogg Art Museum, vol. 1, 1957, cat. 34].

[4] Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, December 4, 1952.
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