Influenced by Cubism and drawn to the expressiveness of primitive art and children's paintings, Klee produced nearly 10,000 works in a variety of media, but is mostly known for his watercolor paintings. At the peak of his career his work was deemed "degenerate" by the Nazi party of Adolf Hitler and removed from all public exhibits. He left Germany and returned to Switzerland in 1933, but by 1935 was ill with what has since been diagnosed as scleroderma, a rare condition that hardens the skin.
Klee constantly experimented with artistic techniques and the expressive power of color, in the process often breaking traditional or "academic" rules of painting in oils on canvas. Klee also applied paint in unusual ways, such as spraying and stamping during his years at the Bauhaus. Keeping his work within the realm of the "ordinary," Klee also painted on a variety of everyday materials, such as burlap, cardboard panel, and muslin.
Klee was fundamentally a transcendentalist who believed that the material world was only one among many realities open to human awareness. His use of design, pattern, color, and miniature sign systems all speak to his efforts to employ art as a window onto that philosophical principle.
Among his notable exhibitions of this period were his first in the United States in 1924; his first major show in Paris the following year and an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1930. Klee went to Dusseldorf to teach at the Akademie in 1931, shortly before the Nazis closed the Bauhaus. Forced by the Nazis to leave his position in Dusseldorf in 1933, Klee settled in Bern the following year. Klee died on June 29, 1940, in Muralto-Locarno, Switzerland.
Klee's choice of materials and scale in certain respects conspired against masterpiece concept. He did not subscribe to the traditional hierarchy of mediums; oil painting was by no means privileged in his oeuvre. He often used etching, engraving, watercolor, gouache, tempera, and oil in various combinations, and experimented with them further by applying them to canvas, burlap, linen, gauze, board, and other less-conventional supports. The scale of his works was decidedly not monumental, although Klee was always challenged by the possibility of projecting a larger space than the physical size of work allowed.
His legacy as a painter and draftsman is prodigious, comprising over 9,000 works in all mediums, which he assiduously catalogued and classified in an elaborate inventory system. His legacy as a writer is equally copious and forms an introspective analysis that parallels his art in its complexity and inventiveness.
Paul left school when he was 19. He moved to Munich in Germany. There he began to study drawing and painting. Magazines like this one helped him to think of funny ideas.
His childhood was passed in an atmosphere of music for his father was a professional musician and conductor or the orchestra in which his son at an early age played the violin. His mother, too, came of a musical family so that for a time he expected to become a musician. However, after much debate, he was sent in 1898 to Munich to study drawing, at first at the Knirr school, and then with Franz Stuck at the Academy. Stuck was an academic painter of bizarre and macabre subjects, at times coarsely banal, but with considerable imaginative power. In 1901 Klee made the orthodox journey to Italy, but quite unorthodoxly he preferred Early Christian art to that of the Quattrocentro, Baroque to High Renaissance painting, and the Naples aquarium to the classical antiquities of the Naples Museum.
Paul Klee was born on December 18, 1879, in Munchenbuchsee, 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. 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.
Paul Klee is a Swiss and German painter whose highly individual style is best known by an often childlike perspective and spidery hieroglyph-like symbols. Klee was heavily influenced by the expressionist, cubist and surrealist movements. Klee taught at the Bauhaus for ten years, where he became close with Wassily Kandinsky built a legacy teaching color mixing and theory.