May Picture, Paul Klee, Dress
This dress is made from fabric custom-printed with May Picture, a 1925 painting by Paul Klee.
The design is printed onto special paper, and then transferred onto the fabric using heat and pressure. This sublimation process creates a soft, breathable, vibrantly colored material – the pattern becomes part of the fabric, it doesn’t just sit on top of it.
Each dress is carefully cut and sewn, but with this stretchy fabric it's impossible to control exactly how patterns match up, or don't, across seams. Each dress is individual.
The dress is soft and comfortable, made of a smooth 82% polyester/18% spandex microfiber yarn with four-way stretch. Printed, cut, and sewn in L.A.
The original of May Picture is oil paint on cardboard. It’s part of Paul Klee’s series of Magic Square paintings, inspired by the light of Tunisia and perhaps by Klee’s interest in word squares and the magic square in mathematics where numbers in a grid add up to the same value horizontally, vertically, and diagonally. Klee used his mastery of color theory to create this complex mosaic-like artwork with its multiple focal points and rhythms and movement.
Swiss-German artist Paul Klee didn’t restrict himself to one genre or to traditional use of materials and techniques — he has been associated with expressionism and surrealism and half a dozen other movements, and he taught at the Bauhaus school from 1921 to 1931. His works use oils, ink, watercolor, pastels, and even spray paint in various combinations. Not stopping at canvas, he also used cardboard, fabric, newsprint, gauze, and other materials in his creations.
Klee often played the violin as warm-up to painting, and he compared the visual rhythm in his artwork to the rhythms of musical compositions. Rainer Maria Rilke wrote, "Even if you hadn’t told me he plays the violin, I would have guessed that on many occasions his drawings were transcriptions of music."
His works sometimes contain musical notation, along with other pictorial symbols and signs, such as letters, arrows, and hieroglyphs. He admired the intense originality of much children’s art and strove for a similar sense of ingenuous simplicity in his own creations, in both unstudied line and intense colors. In 1914 he took a quick trip to Tunisia, where he was struck by the quality of the light, causing him to write, "Color has taken possession of me; no longer do I have to chase after it, I know that it has hold of me forever... Color and I are one. I am a painter."
You can see more about May Picture in its home at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.