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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.
..... Click the link for more information. , BeardsleyBeardsley, Aubrey Vincent
, 1872–98, English illustrator and writer, b. Brighton. Beardsley exemplifies the aesthetic movement in English art of the 1890s (see decadents).
..... Click the link for more information. , 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.
..... Click the link for more information. , 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.
..... Click the link for more information. , 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.
..... Click the link for more information. . 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.
..... Click the link for more information. 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.
..... Click the link for more information. 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.
..... Click the link for more information. (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).
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.