Paul Klee

Paul Klee was born near Bern, Switzerland  in 1879, son of a music teacher, educated in painting at the Art Academy in Munich 1898-1901. He visited Italy shortly thereafter and besides painting also studied music, becoming an accomplished violinist. His first significant artistic achievement were ten etched 'Inventions' in 1903-1905 showing satirical grotesque figures.

He settled in Munich in 1906. He held his first solo exhibition in 1910 at Kunsthaus in Zurich. His great influences of the modern came through meeting Kandisnski, Jawlensky, Macke and Marc in 1911. He was included in the second Blue Rider exhibition in 1912. Soon after he visited Paris where he was introduced to Delaunay and cubism. His highly individual style was influenced by movements in art that included expressionism, cubism and surrealism. He also studied orientalism.

Klee was a natural craftsman who experimented with colour and eventually dived deep into colour theory, writing about it extensively. His work on this subject in 'Paul Klee's Notebook', is held as important for modern art as Leonardo Da Vinci's 'A Treatise on Painting' is for the Renaissance.

He traveled to Tunis and Kairoian with Moillet and Macke in 1914, a visit which had long lasting effect on his work. The rich colours of North Africa were for the rest of his life a rich source of inspiration. The extensive intense colours of North Africa had a long lasting effect on him and it was here that he found himself totally at bliss and in his full element enjoying colour at their deepest essence.

In 1926 he was employed by Walter Gropius to teach painting and colour psychology together with Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky at Bauhaus in Weimar, moving with Bauhaus later to Dessau. His 'Pedagogical Sketchbook' was published 1925, still today having profound influence on art theory in education. From The Bauhaus he moved to teach at  Düsseldorf Academy in 1931- 33, where he was dismissed from teaching by the Nazis in 1933. His works where included in the so called 'Entartete Kunst' - degenerated art. Klee returned to Bern and died in 1940 at  Multalto-Locarno. His works reflect his dry humour and his sometimes childlike perspective, his personal moods and beliefs and very much his musicality.



Paul Klee Exhibition - Making Visible // Tate Modern // 16 October 2013 –  9 March 2014