A figurative ‘oil-paint drawing’ has been placed over an abstract composition of green and brownish yellow stripes in watercolour, which become wider toward the bottom of the page. The 'oil-paint drawing’ was a special transfer technique that Klee developed in 1919, and which allowed him to transfer drawings onto a prepared ground. The artist prepared paper or fabric with black oil paint, and then laid this on a sheet of paper while the paint was still damp; he then drew on the reverse side in order to achieve a line of unusual character. The sublime and diffuse structure of the drawn line and the more random paper or fabric textures caused by light pressure give the drawings an idiosyncratic charm that recalls the frottages, which Max Ernst would later develop. The technique of this productive process – with all of its unpredictability – corresponds to the theme Mondspiel [Moon play]. The urban scene is dominated by the great heavenly body, which receives its radiance from the universe and then emits it once again into that endlessness. The contact with anthropomorphic forms is clearly not without significance. The radiance of the moon disturbs the balance of the somnambulist and, at the same time, leads him into the fantasy world of an exceptional state of being.


  • Title: Moon play
  • Creator: Paul Klee
  • Date: 1923
  • Physical Dimensions: w39.4 x h50.8 cm
  • Type: Paper
  • Medium: Drawing/watercolour and oil on paper, mounted on card
  • Inv.-No.: NG 11/64
  • ISIL no.: DE-MUS-018511
  • External Link: Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyright: Photo © bpk - Photo Agency / Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz │ Text © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Eugen Blume
  • Collection: Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz
  • Artist Place of Death: Muralto, Switzerland
  • Artist Place of Birth: Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland
  • Artist Gender: Male
  • Artist Dates: 1879.12.18 - 1940.06.29

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps