Paul Klee (born December 18, 1879 – died June 29, 1940) is a Swiss and German painter of the 20th century, a talented graphic artist and teacher at the Bauhaus school. A universal artist – Paul Klee – tried himself in different movements (expressionism and cubism, surrealism and primitivism), but the art world remembered him as one of the brightest representatives of avant-garde. All his life he preached freedom – in creativity, in thoughts, in deeds.
Biography of Paul Klee
Paul Klee was born on December 18, 1879 in a creative family living in the small Swiss commune of Munichbuchz. Musician parents predicted the future of a great violinist for their talented son, because little Paul played the instrument so virtuously that at the age of 11 the Berne Music Association invited him to take part in charity concerts. But young Klee also had a hobby – he loved to draw.
Paul Klee’s parents did not encourage their son’s love of painting, but his grandmother insisted that the boy be allowed to paint. Paul took crayons and reproduced everything that came to his mind. He saved children’s work: he pasted it on cardboard and came up with names, and then included it in the catalog of his works.
At the age of 19, Paul Klee went to Munich to study as an artist, convincing his father and mother that he needed only painting like air. At the same time, he did not give up the violin and took up the bow in search of inspiration before working on the next picture. Another master got a job in a symphony orchestra to earn a living. In 1906 he married Lily Stumpf, lived with her in a happy marriage until the end of his days and became a wonderful father to his son Felix.
All this time, Paul Klee studied and worked tirelessly.
He traveled to Italy and fell in love with the architecture of Florence, the Aquarium of Naples and the Gothic of Siena. In Munich, he attended an anatomy course for painters, studied the work of Francisco Goya (Francisco José de Goya) and William Blake in the Cabinet of Engravings, was interested in the graphics of James Ensor (James Ensor). I went to Paris to get acquainted with the Louvre and the Luxembourg Palace, and learned about the existence of impressionism. He also mastered drawing with a needle on blackened glass and trained with the ratio of shadow and light in a monochrome image. At the same time, he managed to go to theaters for musical performances and write reviews for Die Alpen magazine.
The first exhibition of the master took place in 1910.
The collection of watercolors, drawings and etchings was called “56 works of Klee” and was presented first in Bern, and then in Basel, Winterthur and Zurich. With the works of Paul, and then with him personally known at that time artists Wassily Kandinsky, Robert Delaunay (Robert Delaunay) and Franz Marc (Franz Marc). Klee joined the Blue Rider creative community, whose main goal was to expand the boundaries of art, rejecting outdated academic canons and searching for new, non-traditional forms of painting.
Paul Klee was one of the first to touch on the topic of primitive art, writing a detailed article about the first Blue Rider exhibition. The artist believed that it was in the drawings of the mentally ill and children that one should look for fresh ideas, since these authors were not familiar with classical painting. Klee himself finally got rid of traditional forms after a trip to Tunisia, where he comprehended the mystery of color and learned how to harmoniously combine different shades.
While teaching at the Bauhaus, he conveyed to students the importance of one single skill – a true artist must have the courage not to copy a mentor, but to be free and create his own philosophy, even if it is not entirely clear to others. By the end of the second decade of the 20th century, the works of Paul Klee sold well, and he himself lived the measured life of a successful painter.
In 1933 the Klee family had to leave Germany.
The Nazis came to power, who published an article in one of the newspapers that Paul Klee was a Galician Jew, and searched the artist’s apartment. Even after immigration, he was not left alone – 17 works by the avant-garde artist were included in the exhibition “Degenerate Art”.
The painter died on June 29, 1940 in the Swiss city of Locarno from scleroderma. But even a terrible illness that causes daily suffering did not prevent him from creating 1,200 paintings in the last year of his life.