Paul Klee – Swiss Artist (1879-1940)


One of the great expressionist painters of the 20th century
The Swiss-born painter, graphic artist and printmaker Paul Klee was involved in several of the major modern art movements including Expressionism, Cubism and Surrealism, and is noted for his colourful and varied fantasy-style of art depicting a world of semi-abstract, dreamlike images.

Info source: en.wikipedia.org

A master of drawing, he also experimented endlessly with colour theory in painting, and was closely associated with the Ecole de Paris. He was greatly admired by Pablo Picasso and the surrealists. Klee himself defined his art as “taking a line for a walk”.


His masterpieces include:

  • The Golden Fish (1925),
  • Ad Parnassum (1932) a large but fragile work, produced in the pointillist style,
  • Revolution of the Viaduct (1937).

In 1920, Walter Gropius invited Klee to join the faculty of the Bauhaus. A school of architecture and industrial design operating first in Weimar and then Dessau, it also included the study of arts and crafts. Nearly half of Klee‘s some 10,000 works (mainly small-scale watercolors and drawings on paper) were produced during the ten years he taught at the Bauhaus, and they vary widely. Some relate to the subject of his courses, to his preoccupation with the relationship of colors, such as Static-Dynamic Gradation, produced in 1923.

Info source: www.metmuseum.org

Klee’s principal duty, like that of his fellow Bauhaus artists Kandinsky and László Moholy-Nagy, was to lecture in the basic design program on the mechanics of art. His lectures at the Bauhaus, recorded in more than 3,300 pages of notes and drawings, were a remarkable attempt to show how the formal elements of art, simple linear constructions and geometric motifs, could be used to build complex symbolic compositions. Klee expounded his own methods in the Pädagogisches Skizzenbuch (1925, Pedagogical Sketchbook).

Static–Dynamic Gradation,1923, P. Klee
Static–Dynamic Gradation,1923, P. Klee

Image source: www.metmuseum.org

P. Klee was also a member of Die Blaue Vier (The Blue Four), with Kandinsky, Lyonel Feininger, and Alexej von Jawlensky, formed in 1923, they lectured and exhibited together in the USA in 1925.

What is the artistic style of Paul Klee?

In his painting and graphic art, Klee developed an extraordinary range of techniques and styles. These can be traced to his many interests. He wrote poems when he was young and drew inspiration from them years later for his paintings. He was interested in theatre and seriously considered music as a career. In fact, his paintings have been likened to music. Some, such as the portraits, have a theatrical quality, in others, objects look like floating notes from a page of sheet music.

“Art does not reproduce the visible, rather, it makes visible”

Paul Klee
Park near Lucern, 1938, P. Klee
Park near Lucern, 1938, P. Klee

Image source: abstractcritical.com

P. Klee was a natural draftsman, and through long experimentation developed a mastery of color and tonality. Many of his works combine these skills. He uses a great variety of color palettes from nearly monochromatic to highly polychromatic. His works often have a fragile childlike quality to them and are usually on a small scale. He often used geometric forms as well as letters, numbers, and arrows, and combined them with figures of animals and people. Some works were completely abstract. Many of his works and their titles reflect his dry humor and varying moods, some express political convictions. They frequently allude to poetry, music and dreams and sometimes include words or musical notation.

Comedy, 1921, P. Klee
Comedy, 1921, P. Klee

Image source: abstractcritical.com

Info source: www.visual-arts-cork.comwww.britannica.com

For more references, please also visit: www.jbdesign.it/idesignpro

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