The 5th floor is given over to 70 PAUL KLEE works, mostly small in scale if big in punch. All belonged to Berggruen Collection & were gifted to the Met in 1984.
Second floor features DIANE ARBUS photographs from 1956-62, the early years of her career when she was in her 30s. All were taken with a 35m camera, severe, candid black & white shots of people in New York's Time Square, or on the Lower East Side.
Hugely different in feel, Klee's full of humour, fantasy and a light heart; Arbus dark, brooding, angry. Interestingly the Arbus exhibition was full, the Klee almost empty.
Klee's most prolific period, 1921-1931 teaching at the famous BAUHAUS, was the happiest time of his life where he painted half his oeuvre. Colleagues there included Gropius, Kandinsky, Moholy-Nagy, Mies van der Rohe, Oskar Schlemmer, Feininger, Josef Albers & Marcel Breuer - who designed the Met-Whitney building!
They were paid very little. Without the sale of his paintings Klee & his family would have suffered badly. He spent little on himself; never owned a car or a radio. But he was an outstanding cook!
The exhibition starts with a fine detailed drawing of Bern (where he was born in 1879) done when he was 13.
His path to abstraction includes tiny gem-like watercolours. A visit to Tunisia in 1914 had a big effect lifting his colour.
Klee had a wry irreverence, poking fun at anything from tom cats to Adam & Eve,
or a Girl Only Band to musical instruments.
ARBUS made most of her photographs in New York City, where she lived & died. Her favourite locations were Times Square, the Lower East Side, Central Park & Coney Island. The 100 photos here have rarely or never been shown.
Her photographs of children, eccentrics, couples or circus performers, female impersonators & Fifth Avenue pedestrians are often intimate, surprising.
Look at his hands - not such an innocent.
The hats and costumes present a nostalgic, somehow romantic note,
But already Arbus often choses the sad, the old, ugly or infirm, a characteristic that was to increase with the years.And as DAVID EUSTACE says, " B+W can, and does, often disguise a bland image and gives it ironically a life thru a process (and dare I say it..mystery) that in all reality it would rarely merit a second glance in terms of aesthetic, voice, comment or subject matter. It was once a method for an artist to have complete control over an image from concept to exhibition print. Though In terms of content it's of course very forgiving."