Modern Art Monday Presents: Paul Klee, Mask of Fear

Mask of Fear
Photo By Gail

This curious personage, with four small spindly legs supporting a visage of stunned eyes and a quizzical smirk, or handlebar moustache, offers a satiric take on the work’s grim title. Inspired by a Zuni war god sculpture that Klee saw at an ethnological museum, Mask of Fear (1932) was painted on the eve of Hitler’s assumption of power in Germany.

Mask of Fear

The two sets of legs suggest that two figures might be supporting, and concealed by, this monumental carnival-style mask, an arrangement that might understood in light of Klee’s assertion that “the mask represents art, and behind it hides man.”

Photographed in Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

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