Klee, Paul (1879-1940) by Scholes, Robert

The information below has mainly been drawn from the biograhical sketch offered by the Web site of the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Paul Klee was born in Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland, into a family of musicians. His childhood love of music was always to remain profoundly important in his life and work. From 1898 to 1901, Klee studied in Munich, first with Heinrich Knirr, then at the Kunstakademie under Franz von Stuck. Upon completing his schooling, he traveled to Italy in the first in a series of trips abroad that nourished his visual sensibilities. He settled in Bern in 1902. A series of his satirical etchings was exhibited at the Munich Secession in 1906. That same year, Klee married Lily Stumpf, a pianist, and moved to Munich. Here he gained exposure to Modern art. Klee’s work was shown at the Kunstmuseum Bern in 1910 and at Moderne Galerie, Munich, in 1911.

Klee met Alexei Jawlensky, Vasily Kandinsky, August Macke, Franz Marc, and other avant-garde figures in 1911; he participated in important shows of advanced art, including the second Blaue Reiter exhibition at Galerie Hans Goltz, Munich, in 1912, and the Erste deutsche Herbstsalon at the Der Sturm Gallery, Berlin, in 1913. In 1912, he visited Paris for the second time, where he saw the work of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, and met Robert Delaunay. Klee helped found the Neue Münchner Secession in 1914.

In 1920, Klee appointed to the faculty of the Bauhaus. He taught at the Bauhaus in Weimar from 1921 to 1926 and in Dessau from 1926 to 1931. During his tenure, he was in close contact with other Bauhaus masters, such as Kandinsky and Lyonel Feininger . On his death, Klee left many of his works to the Kunstmuseum in Bern, Switzerland, which has the largest collection of Klees in the world. His canvases are often small and unpretentious, but he was a major figure in modern art.

Garden Scene (1905)
— Klee, Paul


Highways and Byways (1929)
— Klee, Paul


Park (1920)
— Klee, Paul


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