Paul Klee

 

Artist Biography:

Born in 1879 to a German father who was a singing teacher and to a French Swiss mother who was a musician, this Swiss painter and etcher pursued an art of free fantasy and poetry. He described himself and his art as "taking a line for a walk". Klee's first artistic direction was towards music - the piano and violin - and he was known to give little concerts to his intimate friends at an early age. In 1898 he hesitated between music and painting, but finally opted for the latter. After early training in Munich, Klee went to Italy between 1901 and 1902. On his return to Switerland he set to work etching. His early influences were Goya and Ensor and a trip to Italy in 1901 led to a formative admiration of Michaelangelo's work in the Sistine Chapel. He was also struck by the poetic charm of the painters of Pompeii. Between 1906 and 1933 Klee lived and worked in Germany, teaching for many years at the celebrated Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau. He was later placed at the Dusseldorf Academy. As an impassioned teacher, much of his theoretical writing has been published and from 1911 he was associated with the Blau Reiter artists known from 1924 as "The Blue Four". Having travelled to Tunisia in 1914 a new world of colour was revealed to Klee and from the 1920s he became famous. 102 Klee works of art were confiscated from German galleries by the Nazis as examples of “Degenerate Art”; now there are works in most galleries of modern art and in Berne, Switzerland, the Klee Foundation has been established. His work is impossible to categorize; he produced over 8000 pieces and moved freely and imaginatively from one style to another. Klee died in 1940.

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