The Thistle Flower House, Paul Klee
Paul Klee
The Thistle Flower House
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Paul Klee

The Thistle Flower House, 1919

34.5 x 29.5 cm
Physical Description
Oil on cardboard
Inventory Number
SG 1207
Acquired in 1961
On display, 1st upper level, Modern Art, room 7


About the Work

One picture, many opinions. The interpretation of this work is as ambivalent as the symbolic meaning of the thistle flower. According to popular belief, the prickly plant protects against evil. In Christian iconography it stands for the Passion of Christ. At the same time, its spiralling form evokes the origins of life. Fascinated by a reality beyond the material world, Klee focused during these years on fundamental questions relating to art. In his 1920 essay 'Creative Confession' he summed up his concept of art in a maxim: "Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes things visible."

Work Data

Basic Information

The Thistle Flower House
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Oil on cardboard
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert und datiert am linken Bildrand mittig: Klee 1919 175.

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
Public Domain
Acquired in 1961

Work Content

Motifs and References

Main Motif
Associated Persons and Institutions



Research and Discussion


Object History
Galerie Hans Goltz, München, Oktober-Dezember 1920
[Galerie Flechtheim, Düsseldorf]
Paul Multhaupt (1884-1933), Düsseldorf, seit mindestens 1921
Ella (Lilly) Lange (1896-1989), Duisburg u.a., seit mindestens ca. 1927
vermutlich Kommission an Galerie Irmgard Burchard Tableaux, Zürich, ca. 1937, unverkauft
zurück an Ella Lange, ca. 1939 oder später
verkauft an die Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt am Main, Juni 1961.


Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.

The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.

Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:

  • the type of acquisition and/or the way the object changed hands
  • the owner's name and place of residence
  • the date on which it changed hands

The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.

Gaps in the record of a provenance are indicated by the placeholder “…”. Unsupported information is listed in square brackets.

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Conservation and Restoration

Art-technology findings and/or documentation regarding conservation and restoration are available for this work. If interested, please contact .

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