Senecio 1922 by Paul Klee | Oil Painting Reproduction
72 cm
Senecio 1922
Artist: Paul Klee
Size: 80 x 72 cm (31.5 x 28.3")
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Price: $323.00
Selected size: 80 x 72 cm (31.5 x 28.3")

Senecio by Paul Klee

Painted in 1922, Senecio by Paul Klee is a fascinating example of cubist and expressionist art.

Measuring just 40 by 38 centimeters, it’s a relatively small example of Paul Klee oil paintings. Nonetheless, it’s a painting that creates an extreme emotional connection.

What is the Meaning of Senecio by Paul Klee?

Otherwise referred to as Head of a Man Going Senile, the painting represents a round face split-up into squares of color. The eyes gaze inquiringly with one eyebrow raised, whilst the figure appears to slowly morph into (or appear from) the bright orange and yellow background 

As the name suggests, the painting references themes of aging and senility. The flat geometric, brightly colored squares could reference a mask or the patches on a harlequin’s outfit.

Linking to the fears we all have about growing older, losing our mental capacities and vigor, it’s a fascinating portrait. Indeed, the connections with mask-wearing and aging are drawn-out by the painting’s title. Senecio means “Old Man” in Latin and was also a well-known performer.

The figure’s raised eyebrow suggests although the mask of senility is creeping in, the man’s intelligence and individuality still shines through.

The simplicity of form evident in the painting also touches on Paul Klee’s interest in African tribal masks. This is referenced in other paintings such as Exuberance and Death and Fire.

Why did Paul Klee Paint Senecio?

Paul Klee never wrote specifically about his reasons for creating Senecio. Amongst paintings by Paul Klee however, it’s particularly notable for its cubist influence.

As a twentieth century avant-garde movement, Cubism focused on analyzing and breaking up objects (and people) into abstracted forms. Whilst Senecio still maintains a single viewpoint, Klee presents a number of divides and cross-sections within the painting.

These unusual dividing lines encourage viewers to assess the old man from numerous intellectual and visual perspectives. On the one hand, the portrait presents a humorous, wry figure full of inner life. From another perspective, the old man’s round face takes on an innocent, childlike form.

Paul Klee artwork (with Senecio no exception) also intensely investigates color theory. The use of color particularly fascinated the artist, and he wrote and lectured on the topic throughout his career 

Similar orange and red tones are evident in another Paul Klee artwork, painted just six years after Senecio. Paul Klee Castle and Sun (1928) also utilizes simple triangles, squares and circles to depict an abstracted city scene.

The work’s joyfulness and brightness (in stark contrast to the darker fears of senility expressed in Senecio) make it one of the most reproduced Paul Klee paintings.

What Medium did Paul Klee use in Senecio?

Senecio is an oil on canvas painting, mounted on a panel.

Amongst paintings of abstract faces, it’s particularly expressive. Indeed, Paul Klee’s expert use of line and ambiguous shapes demonstrate his skill in creating compositions from simple graphic elements. He once claimed these elements were simply “set in motion” by the artist’s mind.

Whilst the paint initially appears scraped onto the canvas in a haphazard manner, Klee carefully planned each and every detail of his color and lines. The geometric methods used in Senecio make it particularly well-respected amongst artists today.

Where is Paul Klee Senecio?

The painting currently hangs in the Kunstmuseum. Based in Basel, Switzerland, this museum boasts the oldest public art collection in the entire world. It’s famed as the most important museum in Switzerland with heritage extending back to a Hans Holbein purchase in 1661 

As well as leading Renaissance masterpieces, the museum collection holds many artworks from the Dutch Golden Age, including the work of Peter Paul Rubens and Rembrandt van Rijn.

In addition to famous nineteenth century impressionist works, the museum’s twentieth century collection particularly focuses on the cubist movement. As well as a unique collection of paintings by Paul Klee, the museum holds work by Picasso, Georges Braque and Juan Gris.

Oil painting reproductions of abstract paintings by Paul Klee are included in our large selection of 20th Century artwork.

Klee, Paul

Discover the famous paintings by artist Paul Klee

Ever heard of Paul Klee associated with the Bauhaus Movement?

Paul Klee was a 20th century Swiss-German artist famous for his individual style which took elements from Expressionism, Cubism and Surrealism. He was an avid writer on color theory and also lectured extensively on this subject. Paul Klee taught at the Bauhaus School of Art with his friend the artist Wassily Kandinsky. Klee studied in Munich and upon graduation went on a tour of Rome, Florence and Naples. He joined Der Blaue Reiter group, founded by Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky. Whilst in London Klee met Pablo Picasso who he greatly admired. Paul Klee returned Switzerland after the First World War and stayed there until his death in 1940. Klee is known to have painted over 9000 paintings in his life, a huge volume of work.

Paul Klee's Twittering Machine and Senecio are two of his very famous paintings.

Would you like a Paul Klee reproduction oil painting? Browse our range now.


We offer a 100% money back guarantee or replacement service. If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your painting please contact us within 7 days of receipt, advising the reason you are unhappy and we will provide you with all the information you need for its return or replacement.

We ship free to anywhere in the world via FedEx or DHL expedited service with online tracking.

Your painting will be shipped rolled in strong plastic tubing, ready for stretching and/or framing locally. This is the conventional method of transporting hand-painted oil on canvas. Learn more about how your painting is shipped.

We are able to offer a framing service intercontinental U.S. Please contact us if you would like a quotation. Alternatively, should you prefer, we can recommend a framer in your area.

Notes About Your Painting

Please note that replica oil paintings are finished with an additional 10cm (4") of extra canvas on all sides, allowing ample surplus canvas for stretching and framing.

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