SFMoMA explores affinity of works by Paul Klee and Ruth Asawa

Left, Paul Klee, ‘Fast getroffen (Nearly Hit),’ 1928; Collection SFMOMA, Albert M. Bender Collection, Albert M. Bender Bequest Fund purchase; photo: Mary Ellen Hawkins. Right, Ruth Asawa, ‘Untitled (S.530, Hanging, Two-Lobed, Continuous Form),’ ca. 1952-1954; Collection SFMOMA, Gift of Robert B. Howard; © 2021 Estate of Ruth Asawa / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Katherine Du Tiel

Left, Paul Klee, ‘Fast getroffen (Nearly Hit),’ 1928; Collection SFMOMA, Albert M. Bender Collection, Albert M. Bender Bequest Fund purchase; photo: Mary Ellen Hawkins. Right, Ruth Asawa, ‘Untitled (S.530, Hanging, Two-Lobed, Continuous Form),’ ca. 1952-1954; Collection SFMOMA, Gift of Robert B. Howard; © 2021 Estate of Ruth Asawa / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Katherine Du Tiel

SAN FRANCISCO – On July 10, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) opened Lineage: Paul Klee and Ruth Asawa, an exhibition that explores and contextualizes the contributions of both artists. The show will run until December 5.

Drawing is a line that “goes out for a walk,” wrote the Swiss-born Modernist Paul Klee (1879–1940). Klee’s dynamic lines and rhythmic patterns have been a catalyst for generations of artists, including California-born Ruth Asawa (1926–2013).

Asawa first encountered Klee’s art and writing through her Black Mountain professor Josef Albers, with whom Klee had taught at the Bauhaus, a revolutionary art school in Germany. She later noted — evoking Klee — that she was interested in “the economy of a line” because “a line can go anywhere.”

This presentation highlights the affinity between Klee’s compositional approach and Asawa’s explorations of line and shape in works she created at Black Mountain College and in her first years in San Francisco, where she moved in 1949.

Visit the website for SFMoMA and see its dedicated page for Lineage: Paul Klee and Ruth Asawa.