Paul Klee

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    Paul Klee


    Paul Klee was born in a German family; his father was a music teacher at the Berne-Hofwil College, and her mother was a trained professional singer. Due to that, he was encouraged to learn violin at the age of seven. His other hobbies were writing poems, drawing, but he was not given scope in that field. His parents wanted him to pursue a career in music, but Paul decided to choose visual arts. He thought he would have more success in this field if he could create rather than performing.


    Early training

    Paul’s academic training was mostly based on his drawing skills. He studies in a private studio for two years. After that, he joined the studio of German symbolist Franz in 1900. During his training in Munich, he met a pianist, Lily Stumpf, who married in 1906. Lily was working as a piano instructor, and she supported Paul as an artist. They gave birth to a son in 1907 and named him Felix. Until the year 1991, Paul stayed isolated from modern art. But after meeting Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, and August Macke, he participated in the second Balue Reiter Exhibition in 1912. There Paul saw the artwork of great artists and visited a studio in Paris in the same year. At that time, he started his experiments with abstraction.

    Paul’s trip to Tunisia had a big impact on his career as an artist. It mainly impacted his relationship with colour. He said, “colour and I are the ones.” When he travelled with Louis Moillet and August Macke, he started painting the watercolour landscape of Tunis, Kairouan, and Hammamet. 


    Mature period

    Paul’s view on abstract was highly influenced by Wihelm Worringer’s abstraction, which abstract art was created in the time of war. Before three months of World War I, in 1916, Paul returned from Tunisia and soon got financial success after the exhibition in Der Sturm Gallery. In 1918 he got the position on the Executive Committee of revolutionary artists. But the November revolution was a failure, so he returned to Switzerland. 

    In 190, Paul accepted the invitation to be a teacher at the Staarliches Bauhaus. At that period, Bauhaus was a well-established and influential school of architecture and industrial design that gave students scope in all visual arts, and Paul was a teacher in that school for ten years. After that, he moved to Dessau in 1925. There he used to teach bookbinding and painting stained glass. In his lifetime, his role as a teacher was most noted. 

    In the year 1930, Paul left Bauhaus to work in the academy in Dusseldorf. When Hitler was named the chancellor of Germany, the period of calm ended, and Paul was denounced as a “Galician Jew”, who got his work to be announced as insane. After that, he was also dismissed from his teaching position, and he returned with his wife to Berne.


    Later period and death

    After returning to Switzerland, Paul was diagnosed called progressive scleroderma. This disease caused the hardness of skins and other organs. His health conditions allowed the creation of 25 works only, but in 1927 he created a record with 1253 works in 1939. In his late period, his works were about pain, grief, acceptance, and death.

    Some of Paul’s works were a part of the Degenerate Art exhibition. The politics in Germany and his accusations on his character made his Swiss citizenship complicated. In 1940, on June 29, Paul died before approving his final application for Swiss citizenship. Paul was a huge inspiration for his students living and dead; his works are highly appreciated to date.  

    Paul’s legacy has been huge, and many of his successors were inspired by his artwork. In the late 1950s, the influence of Paul grew substantially, and his works were on New York exhibitions. Paul’s use of symbols and signs influenced the artist in the New York school, especially for the children interested in mythology. Paul’s use of colours was highly expressed human emotions, and it had a big impact on the colour field painters such as Helen Frankenthaler and Jules Olitski. The American artists in the 1960s and 1970s were grateful to Paul for his colour theory.

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