Seiltanzer (Tightrope Walker)

Maker and role
Artist: Paul Klee, Swiss, 1879-1940
See full details

Object detail

17 x 10 1/2in (43.2 x 26.7cm)
Credit line
Museum purchase
Accession number
Object type
Further information
As an art instructor at the Bauhaus, Klee used the tightrope walker as a metaphor for the formal balance an artist must strive for in his compositions. That metaphor finds itself expressed in this lithograph published at the Bauhaus.

A man walks carefully along a wire, steadying himself with the rod he holds in his two outstretched hands. The accordion-like form at the left is the ladder he used to climb to the top. The brittle lines of the flimsy scaffold beneath suggest the tenuous nature of equilibrium. Even the large white cross formed in the interstices of the four blocks of red ink reinforces the themes of balance and counterbalance.
From Goya to Johns: Fifty Master Prints from the McNay Art Museum; Lyle W. Williams, Richard Hemphill, William J. Chiego; 2004; p. 68
Signature & date
Signed l.r.: Klee
Inscribed l.l.: 1923 138
Subject period


My shortlist

Explore other objects by colour

Public comments

Be the first to comment on this object record.

Google reCaptchaThis site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.