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Special exhibition Klee & Kandinsky: Friends, but also rivals

Their names are now synonymous with “classical modernism” in art: Paul Klee (1879-1940) and Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) were avant-garde and pioneers of abstract art. Now the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern is exhibiting a unique selection of works of the two masters. 

Klee and Kandinsky first met in 1911 as neighbours in the northern Munich borough of Schwabing. In 1922, their paths crossed again at the famous Bauhaus art school in Weimar. In 1925, they moved to Dessau where the Bauhaus school was relocated. There they lived next door to the newly built houses designed by the modernist architect Walter Gropius, who was also one of the founders of the Bauhaus school. 

In 1933, they were separated by the events of contemporary history: When the National Socialists seized power in Germany Kandinsky emigrated to Paris while Klee returned to his native Switzerland. 

“Their relationship was shaped by mutual inspiration and support, but also by rivalry and competition - a combination that spurred both of them on in their artistic work,” writes the Zentrum Paul Klee. 

The exhibition is a collaboration of the Zentrum Paul Klee with the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus Munich, where it will be presented from October 21. In Bern, the exhibition is open until 27 September.

(Text: Andreas Keiser,

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