Paul Klee's attitude to animals was a matter of surprise to his contemporaries. From childhood on he kept a cat, and, as this was known, nobody was surprised at his many variations on this theme.
This wondrous goldfish is in deep blue water, other little red and purple fishes rather keeping out of his majesty's way. There are tiny ripples in the water all around, and from the lower edge rise some light blue plants of simple form, such as are found in meadows and near ponds. the goldfish is giving off an inner light, and actually should light up the water, but the water remains dark. The goldfish glows alone with its improbable color. The cinnabar red fins and the red eye heighten the brilliance of the scales, which look as though embroidered upon the fish.
Is it moving? Presumably it is, for the seven other fish seem to be running away from it. Calm as a god, it divides the blue element, which is deepest and darkest at the middle, where there is no trace of vegetation. Surely there is no reference here to stars or signs of the zodiac, or to other symbols - the goldfish is miraculous in itself, its size and its beauty. Everything is subordinate to it, everything else is present purely for its sake.
In 1925, Paul Klee painted an intriguing piece of art entitled ‘The Golden Fish’, a mysterious creature as the center of attention in his water world. It is adorned with strange, notch-like markings that are accented by bright-red fins and a large, powerful eye. This fish dominates in a dark sea of lesser, more weakly-colored fish that appear to be clearing a path for its majesty. The blackness interspersed between the blue water plants signifies the absolute silence and mystery of the deep ocean. Its eeriness brings about the possibility of an undiscovered world that is far more superior to human kind’s realistic and scientific nature. Or, might it not also be the simple, tiny world of a glass aquarium in someone’s house? Because the true meaning of this painting remains unknown, it has most defiantly provoked many theories, and equally many questions over the years. Being a close friend of artist Wassily Kandinsky, it comes as no surprise that Klee’s artwork has also been deemed to possess the ability to “sing.”
goldfishmounted on cardboardoil and watercolor on paper