Having studied in Munich, Klee joined Kandinsky’s group, Der Blaue Reiter. Via an artistic style centering on line drawing, from around the time he went on a trip to Tunisia in 1914, he awakened to the secret of colors and developed a poetic style composed of color planes. In 1921, he became professor at the Bauhaus. Expelled by the Nazis in 1933, he fled to Bern, Though undermined by illness in his later years, he continued to work vigorously.
A strange creature with two faces is portrayed. One has beady eyes like a child and the other seems to be glaring with an anxious look. Making the most of the texture of the colored paste, the body is enwrapped in what look like scales. On the verso, Klee drew a face which seems to be a self-portrait looking straight ahead. He did many riddle-like “double-sided pictures” intentionally employing the recto and verso of a canvas or sheet of paper. The back of this work was originally hidden as it was stuck onto a cardboard backing. Somebody must have removed the backing at a later date and discovered the existence of the verso. The year Klee did this picture, he was expelled by the Nazis and fled from Germany to Switzerland. The somewhat frail-looking double portrait and the intentionally concealed face on the back both appear to be gazing quietly into the unsettled future.