From The Washington Post:
“Klee and America,” on view at the Phillips Collection, offers alternate explanations for our country’s slow warming to the idiosyncratic painter. This nation, after all, did accept him, although the embrace was warmest after his death.
The artist’s American market witnessed its first uptick toward the end of his career, when his reputation in Europe soured due to Nazi interference. In the early 1930s, he benefited from the efforts of a strong cohort of expatriate American dealers who pushed his work stateside — and by the middle of that decade, his work found Americans sympathetic to his talent and his persecution. Later in the 20th century his impact was clear, but it’s been 20 years since Americans saw a major Klee show. If we struggle to conjure a Klee in our minds, perhaps we can be forgiven our fuzzy-headedness.
The nearly 80 works in “Klee and America,” organized by Houston’s Menil Collection, serve as a barometer of the artist’s rise in this nation’s consciousness during his lifetime. Only those paintings and works on paper that landed on U.S. soil are on view.