Paul Klee

Paul Klee

Paul Klee (*December 18, 1879 in Münchenbuchsee near Bern, Switzerland; †June 29, 1940 in Muralto, Switzerland) was a German artist whose work has been associated with Expressionism, Constructivism, Cubism, and Surrealism. His art drew on elements of many styles, which is why his oeuvre is considered so unique.

Paul Klee’s Career and Early Work

Paul Klee was born on December 18, 1897, the son of a music teacher and a singer. In 1898 he began to study graphic art at Heinrich Knirr’s private school in Munich. He transferred to the Kunstakademie in Munich in 1900 in order to study painting under Franz von Stuck. After a trip to Italy in 1901–1902, the young artist returned to his parents’ house near Bern in 1902. In 1906 Klee married the pianist Lily Stumpf and the couple moved to Munich. Just one year later their son Felix was born. In 1910 the artist participated in various group exhibitions at the Kunstmuseum Bern, the Kunsthalle Basel and the Kunsthaus Zürich; Klee’s artworks on display were almost exclusively graphic works.

Meeting Wassily Kandinsky and August Macke in 1911 led Klee to approach the editorial group Der Blaue Reiter. Seventeen graphic works by the artist featured in the second exhibition of works by Der Blaue Reiter in 1912. The exhibition was held at the Goltz Gallery in Munich.

The Emergence of Color in Paul Klee’s Work

A research trip to Tunisia with August Macke and Louis Moilliet in 1914 brought about a turning point in Klee’s artistic work. The artist diligently kept a diary during this trip to Tunis. With its characteristic rectangular color fields, the Arabic architecture of the city left a lasting impression on the artist, and he discovered color for himself after having worked largely in black and white before the trip. He went on to create further works inspired by his experiences on this trip.

During the First World War, Klee was conscripted into the army in 1916. Fortunately, he was spared from being deployed to the front and was able to continue to devote himself to art.

Paul Klee at the Bauhaus

Paul Klee was appointed to the Bauhaus in Weimar by Walter Gropius in 1920. Having accepted the invitation, Klee led the bookbinding workshop from 1921 to 1925 and the metal workshop from 1922. Klee’s first solo exhibition opened in the USA at the beginning of 1924. In the same year, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, Wassily Kandinsky, and Alexej von Jawlensky founded the artists’ group Die Blaue Vier in Weimar, which they had been planning since 1919. Galka Scheyer acted as the group’s agent. When the Bauhaus moved to Dessau in 1925, Paul Klee and his family followed in 1926. From 1927 to 1930 he taught the free painting class there. His theory of pictorial form had a lasting influence on the work at the Bauhaus.

Paul Klee’s Late Work

In 1931 Klee took up a professorship at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. After the National Socialists came to power in 1933, however, he was dismissed without notice and his art was declared “degenerate.” He subsequently emigrated to Switzerland with his family. In 1935 the Kunsthalle Bern showed a major retrospective of his work. In the same year, the artist fell seriously ill. It was not until 1937 that the artist had another productive creative phase. His late work in the following three years was remarkable. He came to terms with his poor health through his depiction of suffering figures. Paul Klee died during a stay at a health resort in Muralto on June 29, 1940. Throughout his life, Paul Klee’s aim was for his paintings to communicate through color, forms, and lines. Klee left behind an œuvre of about 9,000 works; 1,000 of these were created during the last five years of his life.

1879 — Paul Klee is born in München­buchsee, near Bern. His father is a music teacher and his mother is a singer.
1898 — Klee studies at Heinrich Knirr’s private school in Munich.
1900 — Continues studies at the Munich Academy under Franz Stuck.
1901/02 — Tour of Italy.
1902 — onwards Klee returns to Bern.
1905 — Travels to Paris for a study trip.
1906 — Marries Lily Stumpf and moves to Munich.
1910 — Takes part in a group exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Bern, Kunsthaus Zürich, and Kunst­halle Basel.
1912 — Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky invite Klee to take part in the second Blaue Reiter exhibition.
Klee travels to Paris and becomes acquainted with Robert Delaunay and Henri Le Fauconnier.
1914 — Travels to Tunisia with August Macke and Louis Moilliet.
Becomes co-founder of the new Munich Secession.
1916–1918 — Military service.
1919 — First major solo exhibition at the Galerie Goltz, Munich.
1920 — Klee is appointed by Walter Gropius to the Bauhaus in Weimar.
1921–1925 — Klee heads the bookbinding and metal workshops, and later the stained glass workshop.
1924 — First exhibition in New York.
Klee founds the group Die Blaue Vier with Kandinsky, Feininger, and Jawlensky.
1925 — The Bauhaus relocates to Dessau.
1926 — Klee moves to Dessau with his family.
1927–1930 — At the Bauhaus, Klee teaches the free painting workshop, also known as the free painting class, and later design theory for the weavers.
1929 — Exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the National Gallery, and the Alfred Flechtheim Gallery, both in Berlin.
1931–1933 — Klee leaves the Bauhaus and accepts a professorship at the Düsseldorf Academy.
1933 — Under pressure from the National Socialists, Klee is fired without notice and emigrates with his wife to Bern in Switzerland.
1937 — Retrospective at the Kunsthalle Bern.
1940 — Paul Klee dies in Muralto in Locarno.

 


© Copyright Galerie Utermann 2020

© Copyright Galerie Utermann 2020

© Copyright Galerie Utermann 2020

Galerie Utermann, Silberstraße 22, 44137 Dortmund

Galerie Utermann, Silberstraße 22, 44137 Dortmund

Galerie Utermann, Silberstraße 22, 44137 Dortmund