PAUL KLEE Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Name: Paul Klee                                                                               
Born: 18 December 1879                                                                         
Died: 29 June 1940 Muralto, Switzerland                                                       
Paul Klee (December 18, 1879 - June 29, 1940) was a Swiss painter                             
of German nationality. He was influenced by many different art styles in his                   
work, including expressionism, cubism, and surrealism. He was a student of                     
orientalism. He and his friend, the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, were                   
also famous for teaching at the Bauhaus school of art and architecture.                       
Klee was born in Munchenbuchsee (near Bern), Switzerland, into a musical family his           
father, Hans Klee, was a German music teacher at the Hofwil Teacher Seminar near               
Bern. Klee started young at both art and music. At age seven, he started playing               
the violin, and at age eight, he was given a box of chalk from his grandmother                 
and was encouraged to draw frequently with it. Paul could have                                 
done either art or music as an adult; in his early years, he had wanted to be a               
musician, but he later decided on the visual arts during his teen years. He                   
studied art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich with Heinrich Knirr and Franz               
von Stuck. After traveling to Italy and then back to Bern, he settled in Munich,               
where he met Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, and other avant-garde figures and                 
became associated with Der Blaue Reiter. Here he met Bavarian pianist Lily                     
Stumpf, whom he married; they had one son named Felix Paul.                                   
In 1914, he visited Tunisia with August Macke and Louis Moilliet and was                       
impressed by the quality of the light there, writing, "Colour has taken                       
possession of me; no longer do I have to chase after it, I know that it has hold               
of me forever... Colour and I are one. I am a painter." Klee also visited Italy               
(1901), and Egypt (1928), both of which greatly influenced his art. Klee was one               
of Die Blaue Vier (The Blue Four), with Kandinsky, Feininger, and Jawlensky;                   
formed in 1923, they lectured and exhibited together in the USA in 1924. Klee                 
influenced the work of other noted artists of the early 20th century including                 
Belgian printmaker Rene Carcan.                                                               
Klee worked with many different types of media oil paint, watercolor, ink, and                 
more. He often combined them into one work. He has been variously associated                   
with expressionism, cubism and surrealism, but his pictures are difficult to                   
classify. They often have a fragile child-like quality to them and are usually                 
on a small scale. They frequently allude to poetry, music and dreams and                       
sometimes include words or musical notation. The later works are distinguished                 
by spidery hieroglyph-like symbols which he famously described with, "A line is               
a dot going for a walk". His better-known works include Southern (Tunisian)                   
Gardens (1919), Ad Parnassum (1932), and Embrace (1939).                                       
Following World War I, in which he painted camouflage on airplanes for the                     
imperial German army, Klee taught at the Bauhaus, and from 1931 at the                         
Dusseldorf Academy, before being denounced by the Nazi Party for producing "degenerate         
art" in 1933. The degenerate art exhibit catalogues had even called Klee's work               
"the work of a sick mind."                                                                     
Composer Gunther Schuller also immortalized seven works of Klee's in his Seven                 
Studies on Themes of Paul Klee. The studies are based on a range of works,                     
including Alter Klang [Antique Harmonies], Abstraktes Terzett [Abstract Trio],                 
Little Blue Devil, Twittering Machine, Arab Village, Ein unheimlicher Moment [An               
Eerie Moment], and Pastorale.                                                                 
Another of Klee's paintings, Angelus Novus, was the object of an interpretive                 
text by German philosopher and literary critic Walter Benjamin, who purchased                 
the painting in 1921. In his "Theses on the Philosophy of History," Benjamin                   
suggests that the angel depicted in the painting might be seen as representing                 
progress in history. In 1933, Paul Klee returned to Switzerland; in 1935, he                   
began experiencing the symptoms of what was diagnosed as scleroderma after his                 
death. The progression of his fatal case of the disease can be followed through               
the art he created in his last years.                                                         
He died in Muralto, Switzerland, in 1940 without having obtained Swiss                         
citizenship. The Swiss authorities eventually accepted his request six days                   
after his death. When Paul Klee died at age sixty, he left at least 8926 works                 
of art. The words on his tombstone say, "I belong not only to this life. I live               
as well with the dead, as with those not born. Nearer to the heart of creation                 
than others, but still too far." Today, a painting by Paul Klee can sell for as               
much as $7.5 million.                                                                         
Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, Switzerland                                                         
A museum dedicated to Paul Klee was built in Bern, Switzerland, by the Italian                 
architect Renzo Piano. Zentrum Paul Klee opened in June 2005 and houses a                     
collection of about 4000 works by Paul Klee. Another substantial collection of                 
Klee's works is owned by chemist and playwright Carl Djerassi and displayed at                 
the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.