Outward Sight and Inner Vision: Paul Klee and Lee Mullican



San Francisco Museum of Modern Art


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The Swiss-born Modernist Paul Klee (1879–1940) was an artist and teacher whose work was influential for generations of practitioners. His compositions combined rhythmic patterns with studies of nature and the cosmos to capture what he called “a synthesis of outward sight and inner vision” that inspired artists including Lee Mullican (1919–1998), who first encountered Klee’s work at a memorial exhibition in 1942. Like Klee, Mullican sought “the opening of a new world, opening of the mind into a kind of cosmic thought . . . beyond what one saw, beyond form.”

This focused presentation brings together for the first time meditative works by Klee and early paintings by Mullican, created after he moved to San Francisco in 1947, that blend earthly and celestial imagery and explore the inner life of the visible universe.


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Image of the Day

Roman Pyatkovka, “VELVET SADNESS”, (1996), photograph glued on velvet passe-partout (paper).

Roman Pyatkovka, “VELVET SADNESS”, (1996), photograph glued on velvet passe-partout (paper).


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