Rising Star Oil on canvas, 63 x 50 cm Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel
During the years 1930–33 Klee produced numerous works characterized by the use of small, regularly spaced dots of colour. He called these works ‘divisionist’, thus associating his technique with that of Seurat and Signac, who in the late nineteenth century had built up their pictures with small strokes of primary and complementary colours to achieve a systematic use of colour that reflected new optical theories. Unlike the Postimpressionists, however, Klee lays down his grid of dots on top of bright colour planes, thereby setting off an interplay of different colour membranes. In Aufgehender Stern (Rising Star), this grid appears in front of delicate clouds of colour and is complemented by small, detached planes and open arrangements of lines. The lines at the bottom of the picture mark horizons, for example, while at the top a zigzag trail charts the path travelled over time by a star rising in the firmament. The picture as a repository of time – a central idea of Klee’s art.