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Fish Magic is a combination of a charming scene decorated
with vibrant colors to make one of the most famous paintings. The painting by
Paul Klee has evoked multiple emotions in
the audience, as it has it is full of aura. The Fish Magic by Klee was
completed during his prime years as an artist before he died of scleroderma.

The painting has however remained to be one of the pieces which sparked the
creativity of the painter and infused a different
level of skills to create a new figure.

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Fish magic was created in
a pane using oil and watercolors. It
combines the components from the sea, such as fish, the earth, which are
flowers and the galaxy, that is the moon and the planets. The painting appears
as though Klee was conveying a complex story using the elements of the sea, sky
on canvas and the earth. He expresses his romantic, expressionist and surreal
mood through the painting1. Any person examining
Klee’s work for the first time will
definitely think it was a work of a nursery watercolor
worm. After looking carefully at the elements, one can see how the elements in
the painting fuse together to illustrate a message after seeing hoe Klee was
managed to make an artistic impression using simple elements.

There are several imitations
of the Fish Magic painting, which have been produced after the completion of
the initial painting but have not reached
the standard of the initial painting by Klee. Klee has made other artistic
impressions with his prowess as a modern artist2. There is another
impressive creation in the 1922 twittering machine painting. Klee has used oil
and canvas in most of his paintings and
has satisfactorily used the natural elements.

Klee has succeeded in creating
a magical realm through the intertwining of aquatic, earthly and celestial
elements. The painting is covered by a delicate black surface in the underlying
colors, where the artists have revealed
scrawling and scratching designs using the black paint. At the center of the
painting, there is a square of muslin which is stuck
on the canvas. A long diagonal line crosses the top of the clock tower. The
diagonal line is poised to send away the subtle in the curtain.

The Fish Magic is set squarely suing the background of
German romanticism. It is a blend of natural empiricism and fantasy, as well as
the use of poetry and pragmatics. The painting was made during the middle
period of the artists period in Bauhaus using a mix of aquatic, celestial and
earthly elements3.

It is done in a dark environment of indeterminate scale and scope, with the
fish and flora floating amongst the clock towers and the human beings.

Klee cleared and sanded the black paint as an illustration
of the black paint, which show mysterious specks and the bright colors of the
passages underneath. He has used a rare version of the games which children
play using the wax crayons. The artist has also developed a device ingeniously,
which is used to show there is are more unique ways, which need to be unveiled.

The fish magic is a collage with unique
with a square of muslin stuck on the top of the of the surface with bigger
rectangular canvas. The long diagonal line touches the top of the clock tower
using the side as it appears poised to send away the subtle of the curtain. For
the artist, art is always considered a theatre, just like any of his paintings,
one which gives a promise of the acts to be followed.

Fish Magic belongs to a class of landscape in the production series by Klee among them Botanical
Theatre. The vast majority of these works leave a spectrum of creativity and have been surmounted by the sky. The
Fish Magic draws the curtain on the
indeterminate space in which a fish swims while the plants grow in the presence
of the people and the planet4. The curtain and the clown
frame the scene on the upper side and the lower left, which in appearance is
not part of reality. Instead, the author has revealed it to the audience, in
the crystalline perspective with the face of the clown and a peering edge of
the picture which appear to be calling
for attention.

With a couple of exceptions
and other inhabitants, Klee’s work is easily identifiable, due to its
properties. A vigorous blue daisy with three fish is the main property, which
can be used to identify the painting for any person who has a clue of what it
entails. In the right corner, there is an hourly vase of daisies while the left
has a gesticulating figure containing two profile gazes on either of the sides
of the picture. A continuation on either of the encounters is a sapling
conifer, a tall scape, which is attached to the wire trap, and an hourglass,
which holds there a glowing red disk. Above this,
there are three more fish. In the celestial body, there are hovers close to the
curtain edge, while on the upper left, there is a brightly colored circle in
yellow, which floats nestled in a powdery blue crescent.

On various occasions, the objects in Klee’s painting overlap
the boundaries of the patch of the fabric added to the picture, which gives the
picture a uniqueness of the design, as seen by the viewer. Hence, the wire trap
is suspended within the patch and supports the rod placed on the edge. The fish
is ignorant of the boundary, which is placed between the two zones, as it swims
freely in and out of the central patch as the plants grow from the roots. The
curtain-edge is reflected on the upper corner of the image, with the lower left
having a patch that bisects the hourglass,
as though it is an inverted cone due to the image of the mirror below it. The
seam between the two pieces of fabric bisects the head of the gesticulating
figure through the normal eyes but once again, it shows the reflected image.

The reflecting mirror is gazes from the
mid-point of the picture as it presents a clear mistakable transformation of
the image.

The Fish Magic gives insights into the creative methods and
objectives of Klee’s method of art and
stands as a warning to the painters who were trying to interpret his imagery.

The distinctive rhythmic articulation defines Klee’s style in art5. The dark backgrounds in
the picture establish a grave with occasional sinister, and mood from the
beginning as the glowing form appears to be bringing forth the deepest regions
in Klee’s subconsciousness. The picture brings elusive dream and the power of a
revelation, as the interpretation of the
work is grounded on relationships and identity from the pictorial elements
instead of using a structural manipulation.

Klee has raised the Fish Magic curtain up with water
underneath superficially. It is worth noting that after the equivocal
underwater scene preceding as shown in the Hamburg Goldfish catalog. Other similar works during that time
include the Aquarium with Silvery Blue Fishes produced in 1924 as well as the
Fish Picture produced in 1925. However, the Fish Magic differs from them due to
the use of elements, which are not found underwater. Above all, the double
profile figure, the church steeple and also the planetary bodies in the

The last of the furnishes in Paul Klee’s Fish Magic is more
complicated due to the theme of personal nature, which was one of Klee’s
preferences and used in most of his artistic works. The paintings, which are
nestled at the center with a yellow disc of the clock face and gives a
compositional focus as a large and regular circle in the several circles in the
design. It is impossible to desist from comparing the celestial bodies on the
upper left in relation to the group of images, which was one of the favorite
recurrent preoccupations and motifs by Klee. The main difference between the
cosmic and earthly time is the finite time and in the infinite time. This is a
comparison similar to the sun and the moon and the clock as they are repetitive
in the first picture by Klee in the first divisionism picture, namely Sunset,
produced in 19306.

The interminable rotation of day and night is seen under the human presence. In
the contrary, the featureless face has an eye and a tear similar to the arm of
a clock. Though this is a poignant conflation of the images missing from the
Fish Magic, the meaning has little attributes. Four numerals in the clock are
painted in red and shine with a white and
yellow face as in general. The unusual digits are 1, 2, 5 and 9, rather than 3,
6, 9 and 12 which are rearranged to record the date of the picture, 1925.

The message of the clock will help to illustrate the wire
trap, where it is placed. Historically this system is seen as a fishing net
whose threads make the outline of the belfry. Max Huggler has made a comparison
of the general theme of the picture to the Time of the Plants produced in 1927.

He, however, notes that the wire basket
and the clock are an illustration of the ‘die Zeit der Fische’ which is the presumable remaining time before the fish is
caught. Klee has considered this topic as a drawing, Calling the Fish of 1919
and another one. They are Biting found in the Tate gallery dating from 1920.

The interpretation of Huggler is quite reasonable in case one accepts Fish
Magic as an underwater scene. This is because it does not account for the
improbable motif of the captive church steeple. It appears to be have come from
a deeper level of creativity and thinking by Klee, in the development of the
Fish Magic.

On a corresponding deeper interpretative level, the trap
belongs to the reality of the underwater habitat, though the cosmic theme of
Klee’s picture is the subjection of all life applicable to the duration rule.

In the contrary, the free-floating
planetary bodies with the rhythmic rhythms of the universe are bound by a
steeple and clock which are made to be obeyed by man. In absence of the trap,
the clock on a church steeple is a traceable motif in the entire career of Klee7. From the start of 1883
and 1884, which was the time the artist’s career was four to five years old,
the dates of a drawing, the church, the Clock with contrived numbers was made.

Though it is connected to a particular building, the main concern is that the
clocks are closely linked with Klee’s origin, Swiss as well as the early
impressions, which are familiar with the Berne, the clock tower. These were
some of the initial impressions which were familiar to the Kramgasse8. However, both were more
important and prophetic than the young Klee’s interest in hiding a cryptic
message in the clock face. It is quite indecipherable though the viewer conceptualizes the personal message on the clock
with Magic Fish, as it makes the disclosure.

The Philadelphia picture in more than forty years, Klee had discovered that a
clock might be used to tell something more than the time of the day, which is a
medium of art.

The deeply rooted
image remained with Klee up to the watercolor
picture, Heavenly and Earthly Time. It appears as one of his bitter-sweet
sentiments of the picture. The more ambitious Fish Magic appeared two years
earlier, with the design focusing more on the clock, steeple, and a church, while either side
of these floats in the weak armature of the townscape, which is scarcely less intricate than the paintings on the clock9.

The entire construction is gently suspended on from a single wire of heaven and
is softly balanced on the complementary motions on the earth, with heavenly
pulleys. The initial dark, small, solid and fixed to the clock picture helps to
measure the time and record the elapsed hours, with larger and lighter swings which did not initially have any

Following the
living habitats of the Fish Magic, it could be noted that the fish which gave
the picture the title is familiar with Klee’s motif of art in 1920’s when they
are a subject of more than a dozen major works. The characteristic of the fish,
unlike several of his other companions in his daily life, got into his art through different levels. In specific works,
for instance, the Aquarium with Silvery
Blue Fishes or the Fish in Circle are content to themselves. In others, Around
the Fish and the Fish Magic appear almost inadvertent and have a symbolic
meaning of the artist in the course of developing one picture. Klee was not
always aware of the change in his emphasis as illustrated in the two slim
pieces of evidence on the genesis of Fish Magic.

1 Verdi, Richard. “Paul Klee’s’ Fish Magic’: An
Interpretation.” The Burlington Magazine 116

Klee, Paul. The Diaries of Paul Klee,
1898-1918. Univ of California Press, 1968.

Lanchner, Carolyn, ed. Paul Klee, His
Life and Work. Hatje Cantz Pub, 2001.


4 Verdi, Richard. “Paul Klee’s’ Fish Magic’: An
Interpretation.” The Burlington Magazine 116

Bauschatz, Paul. “Paul Klee’s speaking
pictures.” Word & Image 7, no. 2 (1991): 148-164.


Lanchner, Carolyn, ed. Paul Klee, His
Life and Work. Hatje Cantz Pub, 2001.


Klee, Paul. The Diaries of Paul Klee,
1898-1918. Univ of California Press, 1968.

Klee, Paul. Creative Confession-Paul
Klee. Vol. 5. Tate Enterprises Ltd, 2013.

Raczka, Bob. No one saw: Ordinary
things through the eyes of an artist. Millbrook Press, 2002.


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