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At the time around 1919, after his experiences in the 1st World War and his first successes in the art market, Paul Klee took up the theme of personal awareness and self-reflection in numerous self-portraits. The best known of these is the pencil drawing «Absorbtion». Klee’s theme here was less the reflection on the role of the artist and more a se…
 
You would not want to meet Paul Klee’s "hungry girl" from 1939 in a dark alley at night. It shows a girl as a tooth-baring beast with glaring eyes. Nothing remains of a human being, let alone a sweet little girl. Its whole appearance is animal-like, even down to the little lines that Klee uses for the depiction of the pupils. Particularly in his la…
 
The doll with purple ribbons appears strange. The androgynous mixed being seems to float in space as though directed by an invisible hand. For the first time in Klees work a humanlike figure is shown as a marionette, a motive which in his later work gained great importance. The doll behaves according to her own rules of play. Completely weightless …
 
Like Picasso, Klee was also seeking for simple, modern means of expression. But unlike Picasso, who was impressed by the magical charm of «primitive» sculpture, Klee discovered the original sources of art in his own childrens drawings. Initially he approached a reduction of form cautiously. In later years he developed an intentional naivety into hi…
 
Paul Klee only rarely took an interest in perspectival constructions of spaces, architectures and places. Very early in his work, rather than traditional central perspective, he opted for free methods of construction which were inspired above all by Cubist ideas of composition, but which also took them further. Another source of inspiration lies in…
 
Depictions of nature appear in Paul Klee’s work from his earliest drawings in the sketchbooks of his youth to the last year of his life. Nature, growth and plants in general are a core theme in Klee’s thought and artistic work. In his 1925 essay «Ways of Studying Nature» Klee sums up his thoughts about nature: «For the artist, dialogue with nature …
 
Paul Klee drew this «Forgetful angel» in 1939 with very few pencil lines. It is one of over 35 depictions of angels from the last years of the artist’s life and work. In their appearance they correspond entirely to our traditional ideas of gentle, winged creatures, even though Klee reduces the wings to shapes narrowing to points and also sometimes …
 
This large-format drawing on packing paper is one of the last works that Paul Klee produced. Klee’s health deteriorated in early 1940. In May he went for a spa cure in Ascona, from which he did not return. Some of his works remained incomplete, or at least untitled and unnumbered, in his studio. The work posthumously entitled «Composition with Frui…
 
In 1938, two years before his death, Klee worked intensively with writing, characters and generally sign-like pictorial elements. He produced several works with the title «Alphabet», in which a pile of letters is scattered apparently at random over the picture surface. Klee even painted one of the alphabet paintings on newspaper. In «Beginning of a…
 
This picture is the largest painting Paul Klee ever completed with the remarkable length of 176 cms. As is typical for this period Klee used newspaper which he glued onto jute. With colour paste he painted thick black stripes directly onto the paper. Only afterwards did he apply the white grounding and painted the background of pastel colours with …
 
The picture «la belle jardinière», also known as «a bourgeois ghost», is a staging of surreal amusement. The schematic figure made up of red and blue lines, ironically titled by Paul Klee, the beautiful gardener in crinoline, holds in her raised left hand a bunch of flowers.The bourgeois ghost appears as a magic shining phantom, which avoids every …
 
Even though the picture «Individualized Altimetry of Layers» was only created in 1930, it nevertheless indicates a direct relationship in its formal structure to the Egyptian water colours. The composition is divided into twelve horizontal strips, called layers by Klee, which are cut through by five vertical bars. With each step, the layers are eit…
 
The period in which the painting „Pomona, overripe“ was created can also be seen as a specially fertile time: As a result of his illness with progressive scleroderma Klee was only able to execute 25 works in 1936, and yet the following year was the beginning of a phase of extraordinary creative strength until his death.In the final working years fr…
 
Paul Klee entered the painting "The creator", in his oeuvre catalogue in 1934 under number 213. Next to the entry, he wrote: "not touched for several years". Klee frequently left paintings sitting in his studio for long periods, only to pull them out at the right time, rework them, or paint them over. He probably began this painting in his Dessau B…
 
Paul Klee returned to Berne, the city of his childhood and youth, on the 23rd December 1933. This was not done willingly, but was the enforced reaction to the accession to power by the National Socialists in Germany. From the beginning Paul and Lily Klee had observed the developments in Germany with unease. In Weimar and Dessau they were forced to …
 
Until December 1918 Klee is in wartime service in Gersthofen and is not released until February 1919. During the last three war years Klee experiences a productive work phase, which stands in crass antithesis to the circumstances all around. The numerous aquarelle paintings from this time are dominated by radiant colours, which are not yet subordin…
 
The view of the city turns into a play of simple square shaped areas and shades of colour casually laid upon each other. From this point it was just a small step to the water colours of pure coloured squares which were created on his return and in memory of Kairuan. In the evening Klee noted in his diary: „Colour has caught me. I do not need to sea…
 
In his black watercolours he laid layer after layer of black, almost transparent paint on the paper and in the superimposition of the layers he achieved a nuanced gradation of light and ark. In "Bucket and watering can", 1910, he continued this process in gentle watercolour tones. Here too he placed almost transparent layers of colours side by side…
 
As architecture follows certain patterns, structures and rules, mostly in geometrical forms, the structure of a painting should do the same. At first glance the motif breaks down into many coloured planes. A particular pattern slowly appears, stripes seem to run through the painting horizontally and vertically. The primary colours red, yellow and b…
 
The E is interpreted partly as an abbreviation for the Bavarian town of Ebenhausen, but in Klee’s work such a pictorial element need not necessarily assume a particular meaning. By incorporating individual letters Klee complements his pictorial trove of motifs: arrows, crescent moons, individual wheels and hieroglyphics. In this way Klee was trying…
 
Paul Klee's »Zwei Männer, einander in höherer Stellung vermutend, begegnen sich«, 1903,[Two men meet, each believing the other to be of higher rank] is part of a group of works known as the »Inventionen« [Inventions], eleven etchings from the years 1903 to 1905, whose meticulous technique and detailed, relief-like composition is reminiscent of draw…
 
It was clear to Renzo Piano from the very outset that Klee had too much depth as an artist to ever be contained within an ordinary building. Renzo Piano felt that the Centre planned should be dedicated to the work of a "poet of stillness", so Piano's ideas revolved around an essentially tranquil type of museum. But Renzo Piano also drew inspiration…
 
Klee explored the subject of weightlessness in paintings with a three-dimensional construction that appear to drift in space. They are based on precise constructive principles, yet are frequently irrational in their spatial logic. In »Schwebendes«, 1930, [Hovering], the corners of the overlapping four-sided figures are only partly »rational«, that …
 
The picture "Park near Lu" lives from a strong contrast between the black symbols showing the trees, branches and paths of a park, and then the surrounding colour zones like colourful foliage. It seems to have been a specific landscape which inspired Paul Klee to paint this picture. Klee's wife Lily travelled several times in the late 1930's to Luc…
 
But no other subject is so intensely dealt with in the »Inventionen« as the comedian, which comes up in three different versions. All of them show the head of a man in profile, hidden behind a mask. While the faces of the two first versions are recognisable as self-portraits, the third image focuses on a more fundamental reflection by Klee on his e…
 
Even four years after the end of the war, references to war themes and Paul Klee's experiences are still to be found in his work: For instance the picture "The Dart House". Only the indication of the weapon in the title and the exact depiction of such a bullet, is reminding Paul Klee of the First World War. The picture itself emanates nothing warli…
 
During his time as a teacher at the Bauhaus, Paul Klee made an intense study of motion in the static, gravity-bound world and in that of the dynamic. The possibilities of movement open to birds and fish interested him particularly, as did their elements - air and water. Klee called water an »in-between realm«, in which the law of gravity does not a…
 
In »der Graue und die Küste«, 1938, [The grey man and the coast], a line beginning at the top edge swings back and forth, dividing the painting into horizontal segments. The »grey man« appears to observe this course, which the title describes as a coast. We too look down on a landscape of fjords far below us, reading the blue surface as sea, the bo…
 
Lady Demon was created in 1935 during a period of artistic helplessness and the search for new means of expression. Klee was caught in a creative crisis due to his exile in Berne, the unhealthy political developments in Germany and above all, also due to the constantly deteriorating state of his health. This work is a typical example of the transit…
 
In the summer of 1905, Klee started using a new medium: blackened sheets of glass, which he worked on with a needle. Using the resistance of this unusual medium, he discovered a new form of artistic expression - the scratched drawing. In his diary, he described his discovery thus: »The medium is no longer the black line, it is the white. The light …
 
The oil painting »Bildarchitectur rot gelb blau«, 1923, [Pictorial architecture red, yellow, blue] is one of the »square pictures« that Paul Klee worked on during his time at the Bauhaus in Weimar, and which he systematised in his Dessau Bauhaus period (1927-1930). More than ten years earlier, Klee had composed his first watercolours out of coloure…
 
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