Paul Klee was a Swiss-born German artist who drew his unique style from Cubism, Impressionism and Surrealism.
He was a prolific painter and has come to be regarded as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.
Rose garden was executed with oil on card in 1920, when Klee was 40 and living in Germany having recently served as a soldier in the First World War. At about the same time, Klee took up a post as teacher at the famous Bauhaus school of art
, where he remained for ten years.
As a painting, Rose Garden is both aesthetically very pleasing and incredibly intriguing.
Klee's parents were musicians, and he himself was a skilled violinist from an early age. He used this musical ability to build up his paintings, starting with a single motif - such as the circular roses - and using it like a musical note, building everything around it until he created a symphony. The painting is superbly balanced, and demonstrates Klee's mastery of colour and tone.
In his early years, Klee found it hard to use colour as he wanted to, something he worked hard to overcome. In Rose Garden he proves the expressive power of his colour; the painting is executed almost entirely in shades of pink. Apart from the lollipop heads of the roses, everything else is in soft straight lines, pulling the eye further in with its pleasing symmetry.
Klee also plays with perspective, so that what at first appears to be a flat, two-dimensional picture emerges as a multi-faceted landscape. The blocks of colour bisect each other to create hillsides, or streets, or rolling fields.
The beauty of Rose Garden lies in the fact that whenever you look at it you see something new. This is not just a garden; it is a town, with houses and a church, the windows becoming more defined the longer you look. There is also a circular tower and what could be a Union Jack on one building. Other shapes form and reform - it could be a fish in the centre of the picture, or a bird. There is no explanation as to what these symbols mean, so everyone who gazes at the picture finds something different.