Fugue in Red

Paul Klee—who worked as a professional musician before embarking on a career in the visual arts—became intensely preoccupied with the parallels between music and painting in 1910. In his opinion, rhythm was an important link between the two genres, capable of illustrating temporal movement in both. He saw a further connecting factor in the clear, structural articulation found in musical compositions, in particular fugues, in the treatment of several parts. This type of polyphonic compositional style served Klee as orientation for his Fuge in Rot. Floating colored forms of either figurative or abstract derivation (a leaf, vase, rhombus, rectangle, triangle, and circle) overlap one another in a tonal sequence, from dark to light. The temporal aspect is presented graphically through the gradual emergence of the forms, from the dark ground to maximum transparency. This painting was possibly inspired by Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack's presentation of Farbenlichtspiele (Color-Light Plays) at the Bauhaus in Weimar.