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The Virtue Wagon (to the memory of October 5, 1922)

Paul Klee1922

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Virtue Wagon (to the memory of October 5, 1922) refers to a power struggle that took place on that date during a faculty meeting at the prestigious Bauhaus, Germany's avant-garde, fine and applied art school. With characteristic whimsy and intentionally naïve style, Klee translates the facts of the meeting into an allegorical commentary. The story told in The Virtue Wagon is that of a similar power dispute relayed operatically in Mozart's Magic Flute. The figures riding atop the wagon in Klee's work are the Queen of the Night and her three ladies. In the opera, these symbolic powers of darkness feign high moral purpose in order to deceive and wrest control from those who would do good. Klee's abstract figural forms humorously suggest the psychological realities of human nature.

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  • Title: The Virtue Wagon (to the memory of October 5, 1922)
  • Creator: Paul Klee
  • Date Created: 1922
  • Physical Dimensions: w406.4 x h311.15 in (Unframed)
  • Culture: Swiss
  • Type: Drawing
  • Rights: Gift of the Friends of Art, Gift of the Friends of Art
  • External Link: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
  • Medium: Oil transfer drawing and watercolor on prepared ground on paper

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