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Paul Klee

1879, Münchenbuchsee (Switzerland) – 1940, Locarno (Switzerland)

The painter Paul Klee is one of the most complex personalities in modern art. He approached art with a free spirit and created a very varied body of work. His paintings can be viewed as being Cubist, Bauhaus or Surrealist, but this very individual artist succeeded in defying any attempt at classification.

A talented violinist from childhood, Paul Klee began studying art in Munich. He then travelled to Italy where he fell in love with the architecture of the Renaissance.

– 1911: he becomes involved with the Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) group of painters and forges friendships with Kandinsky, Marc, Macke and Jawlensky. He also continues to study and practise music.

– 1914: trip to Tunisia and the shock of colour; Klee’s compositions turn into arrangements of coloured geometrical shapes. Colour becomes the very essence of the picture.

– 1919: Klee continues to experiment with new media – oils, watercolours, pastels, drawings, sculpture. Like many of the spirits of the age, he argues for total art that touches every aspect of the decorative arts.

– 1921: Paul Klee starts to teach painting on glass, then weaving at the Bauhaus. He goes on to teach painting classes.

– 1930: he develops a painting style marked by large symbols, like indecipherable but hypnotic hieroglyphics.

Paul Klee left a huge legacy. For Klee, a picture should be an organic being in itself, like all living things. This was the most important message in his works, heralding the painters of non-objective art. He anticipated the Surrealists in his vision, his taste for dreams, his abandonment of the irrational, and the Abstract artists in his musical background that translated into splashes of colour, suggestions of melodies.

Today, his work is represented in leading modern art collections around the world.