Paul Klee

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Klee, Paul

(poul klā), 1879–1940, Swiss painter, graphic artist, and art theorist, b. near Bern. Klee's enormous production (more than 10,000 paintings, drawings, and etchings) is unique in that it represents the successful combination of his sophisticated theories of art with a very personal inventiveness that has the appearance of great innocence. The son of a music teacher, Klee himself was a violinist, and musical analogies permeate his writing and his approach to art. He traveled through Europe, open to many artistic influences. The most important of these were the works of BlakeBlake, William,
1757–1827, English poet and artist, b. London. Although he exerted a great influence on English romanticism, Blake defies characterization by school, movement, or even period.
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, BeardsleyBeardsley, Aubrey Vincent
, 1872–98, English illustrator and writer, b. Brighton. Beardsley exemplifies the aesthetic movement in English art of the 1890s (see decadents).
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, GoyaGoya y Lucientes, Francisco José de
, 1746–1828, Spanish painter and graphic artist. Goya is generally conceded to be the greatest painter of his era. Early Life and Work

After studying in Zaragoza and Madrid and then in Rome, Goya returned c.
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, EnsorEnsor, James Ensor, Baron
, 1860–1949, Belgian painter and etcher. Ensor's imagery reflected one of the most bizarre and powerful visions of his era. He left his native Ostend to study painting (1877–80) at the Académie de Bruxelles.
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, and, especially, CézanneCézanne, Paul
, 1839–1906, French painter, b. Aix-en-Provence. Cézanne was the leading figure in the revolution toward abstraction in modern painting.
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. In 1911 he became associated with the Blaue ReiterBlaue Reiter, der
[Ger.,=the blue rider], German expressionist art movement, lasting from 1911 to 1914. It took its name from a painting by Kandinsky, Le cavalier bleu.
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 group and later exhibited as one of the Blue Four. Klee's awakening to color occurred on a trip to Tunis in 1914, a year after he had met DelaunayDelaunay, Robert
, 1885–1941, French painter; husband of Sonia Delaunay-Terk. By 1909, Delaunay had progressed from a neoimpressionist phase to cubism, applying cubist principles to the exploration of color.
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 and been made aware of new theories of color use. Thereafter his whimsical and fantastic images were rendered with a luminous and subtle color sense.

Klee's works are neither abstract nor figurative, but have strong elements of both approaches. Characteristic of his gently witty paintings are The Twittering Machine (1922, Mus. of Modern Art, New York City) and Fish Magic (1925, Phila. Mus. of Art). Other works reveal strong, rhythmic patterns, as in the unsettling Viaducts Break Ranks (1937, Hamburg). World famous by 1929, Klee taught at the BauhausBauhaus
, artists' collective and school of art and architecture in Germany (1919–33). The Bauhaus revolutionized art training by combining the teaching of classic arts with the study of crafts.
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 (1920–31) and at the Düsseldorf academy (1931–33) until the Nazis, who judged his work degenerate, forced him to resign. He and his family fled Germany for his native city in 1933. In his series of Pedagogical Sketchbooks (tr. 1944) and lecture notes entitled The Thinking Eye (tr. 1961), Klee sought to define his intuitive approach to artistic creation. His last ten years were spent in Switzerland, and some 4,000 of his works are in the Paul Klee Center, Bern.


See his notebooks, ed. by J. Spiller (2 vol., tr. 1992); his diaries, ed. by his son Felix Klee (tr. 1964); his life and work in documents, ed. by F. Klee (tr. 1962); studies by J. M. Joran (1984), C. Lanchner, ed. (1987), O. K. Werckmeister (1989), and M. Franciscono (1991).

Klee, Paul


Born Dec. 18, 1879, in Münchenbuchsee, near Bern; died July 29, 1940, in Muralto, near Locarno. Swiss painter and graphic artist.

From 1898 to 1901, Klee studied under F. Stuck at the Academy of Arts in Munich. From 1906 to 1920 he lived in Munich, where he became a member of the Blaue Reiter. Klee was a professor at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau from 1921 to 1930 and at the Düsseldorf Academy of Arts from 1931 to 1933. Forced to leave the academy by the fascists, he returned to Bern.

Klee was a leading proponent of expressionism. His art tended toward the abstract and the fantastic and was highly individualistic. Klee was attracted to the musicality of color combinations, the naïveté of children’s drawings, and the alleged mystery of certain pictorial motifs and symbols.


Grohmann, W. Paul Klee. [Stuttgart] 1954.
References in periodicals archive ?
Paul Klee fue siempre un espiritu independiente e individualista, con una tecnica depurada hasta lo maniaco, y dotado de una excepcional capacidad para la teoria artistica.
Entre las obras expuestas--todos sabemos que se trata de una coleccion de lujo--se encuentran tambien obras de Paul Klee y cuadros hechos por enfermos mentales, entre ellos, con mucha probabilidad, el desaparecido Angel exterminador (Wurgeengel) de 1909, del enfermo nervioso--y a partir de 1911, en la terminologia del psiquiatra suizo Eugen Bleuler, esquizofrenico--Franz Buhler, posible inspiracion para el cuadro de Klee, quien habria visto la coleccion de arte patologico del sicologo e historiador del arte Hans Prinzhorn en Heidelberg, desde 1909 un archivo artistico de valor incalculable.
Inspired by diverse European artists such as Joan Miro, Paul Klee, Constantin Brancusi and Pablo Picasso, they created work (complete with poetic titles) that they termed 'objets' borrowing the French term.
Dr Hans Suter in his book Paul Klee and His Illness had set for himself the following objectives:
Right next to the city centre are world-class examples of contemporary design and architecture--the Zentrum Paul Klee (designed by Renzo Piano) and the shopping and recreation complex Westside (designed by Daniel Libeskind).
Her seascapes and urban scenes are focalised through the influences of Paul Klee and Edward Hopper and they're really quite something.
An exhibition in Switzerland has brought together the genius of modern art contemporaries Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee with an added twist: the first meeting of their two heirs.
Afgesien van die implikasies van Dante se "Paradiso" en die hoofse kultuur vir die betekenis van die gedigte, lei die sterk visuele en vormlike bewustheid in die siklus daartoe dat dit gelees kan word saam met die kunsteoretiese sienings van Paul Klee en Bachelard se beskouings oor die betekenis van ruimtelike vorms en veral rondheid.
Look how artist Paul Klee used simple lines and shapes to make his picture, "In the Magic Mirror.
Among the collection's treasures are etchings from late in Goya's career and works by Max Klinger, Max Ernst, Odilon Redon, Paul Klee, Jean Dubuffet and printmaker Piranesi.
Porter Aichele addresses these fascinating questions by calling on the poetic/painterly/theoretical oeuvre of Swiss painter Paul Klee.
As the title suggests, this exhibition focuses on the Bauhaus School between 1919 and 1933 and includes works by leading members of the movement - Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Josef Albers.