gigatos | May 13, 2022
Paul Ernst Klee († June 29, 1940 in Muralto, Canton Ticino) was a German painter and graphic artist whose varied work is classified as Expressionism, Constructivism, Cubism, Primitivism and Surrealism. Klee was in close contact with the editorial group Der Blaue Reiter and showed graphic works at their second exhibition in 1912. The artist, who up to this time had worked mainly as a graphic artist, was helped on his breakthrough as a painter by a trip to Tunisia in 1914 together with August Macke and Louis Moilliet. It became known as the art-historically important Tunisreise.
Like his friend, the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, Klee taught at the Bauhaus in Weimar from 1921 and later in Dessau. From 1931 he was a professor at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. After the National Socialists seized power, he was dismissed and went back to Bern, where during his last years from 1934 onwards, despite the growing burden of a serious illness, he produced an extensive late oeuvre. In addition to his artistic work, he wrote art theoretical writings such as Schöpferische Konfession (1920) and Pädagogisches Skizzenbuch (1925). Paul Klee is one of the most important visual artists of Classical Modernism of the 20th century.
Alternatives:Childhood and school yearsChildhood and school daysChildhood and school time
Paul Klee was the second child of the German music teacher Hans Wilhelm Klee (1849-1940) and the Swiss singer Ida Marie Klee, née Frick (1855-1921). His sister Mathilde († December 6, 1953) was born in Walzenhausen on January 28, 1876. His father came from Tann (Rhön) and studied singing, piano, organ and violin at the Stuttgart Conservatory. There he met his future wife Ida Frick. Until 1931 Hans Wilhelm Klee worked as a music teacher at the Bern State Seminary in Hofwil near Bern. It was thanks to this circumstance that Klee was able to develop his musical abilities through his parents” home; they accompanied and inspired him until the end of his life.
In 1880 the family moved to Bern, where they moved into their own house in the Kirchenfeld quarter in 1897 after several changes of residence. From 1886 to 1890 Klee attended elementary school and at the age of seven took violin lessons at the city music school. He soon mastered the violin so well that he was allowed to play as an extraordinary member of the Bernese Music Society at the age of eleven.
Klee”s other interests were drawing and writing poetry. His schoolbooks and exercise books contain countless caricatures. With his drawing pencil, he early captured the silhouettes of the surrounding towns such as Bern, Fribourg in Üechtland and the surrounding landscape. His talent for drawing was not encouraged, however, as his parents wanted him to train as a musician. In 1890 Klee transferred to the Progymnasium in Bern. In April 1898 he began to keep a diary, which he completed by December 1918; he edited it that year and had it headed “Erinnerungen an die Kindheit.” In September 1898, he completed his schooling with the Matura at the Literargymnasium in Bern. For further education he left Switzerland and moved to Munich to study art. With this decision he rebelled against the wishes of his parents. Besides his desire for emancipation, there was another reason for him not to choose music: He saw the peak of musical creativity already passed and did not appreciate the modern compositions.
Alternatives:Study and marriageStudies and marriage
In Munich, Paul Klee initially studied graphic art at Heinrich Knirr”s private painting school, having been rejected from the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. Among his fellow students was Zina Wassiliew, who married Alexander Eliasberg in 1906; the couple belonged to the artist”s circle of friends. Beginning in 1899, Klee trained with Walter Ziegler in the techniques of etching and etching. He enjoyed the casual student life and had numerous affairs with young models in order to gain “a refined sexual experience.” In February 1900, Klee moved into his own studio and on October 11, 1900, he transferred to Franz von Stuck”s painting class at the Art Academy, where Wassily Kandinsky was studying at the same time. Klee, who had little use for the class, attended only sporadically and therefore did not yet get to know Kandinsky. In March 1901 he left the academy again.
During a six-month study trip from October 22, 1901 to May 2. May 1902 with the sculptor Hermann Haller to Italy, which led via Milan, Genoa, Livorno, Pisa, Rome, Porto d”Anzio, Naples, Pompei, Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, Gargano and Florence, three experiences became decisive for his artistic expression, “firstly the Renaissance architecture in Florence, the palaces of the churches that make the Medici city a total work of art, their constructive element, the structural numerical secrets, the proportions”; secondly, Klee had experienced for the first time in the aquarium of Naples “the imagination and fantasy of natural forms, their colorfulness, the fairytale-like nature of marine fauna and flora”; and thirdly, “the playful sensitivity of the Gothic panel paintings of Siena”.
After his return from Italy in 1902, Klee lived in his parents” house until 1906 and earned his living as a violinist with the Bernese Music Society, at whose subscription concerts he also acted as a reviewer and substitute, and continued his artistic training by attending anatomical lectures and an anatomical course. In 1903 he produced the first of ten etchings created until 1905, which are grouped in the cycle Inventionen. In 1904 Klee studied the illustrations of Aubrey Beardsley, William Blake and Francisco de Goya at the Kupferstichkabinett in Munich, which, like the graphic work of James Ensor, made a lasting impression on him during this period.
In May and June of 1905, Klee, together with his childhood friends, the budding artist Louis Moilliet and the writer Hans Bloesch (1878-1945), made a trip to Paris, where he devoted himself to the study of older art in the Louvre and in the gallery of the Palais du Luxembourg. In this year Klee perceived Impressionism for the first time and in the fall began to study reverse painting on glass.
In 1906 Klee visited the Centennial Exhibition of German Art in Berlin and in September of the same year moved permanently to Munich, where on September 15 he married the pianist Lily Stumpf, whom he had met at a chamber music soirée in 1899. A year later, on November 30, 1907, their son Felix was born. Klee took over much of the child-rearing and household chores in their Schwabing apartment, and Lily Klee provided a living by giving piano lessons rather than performing as a pianist.
In May 1908 Klee became a member of the association of Swiss graphic artists Die Walze and in the same year took part in the Munich Secession exhibition with three works, in the Berlin Secession with six works, and in the exhibition in the Munich Glaspalast. Klee wrote about musical performances in the Swiss magazine Die Alpen in 1911 and 1912.
Connection to the “Blaue Reiter” 1911
In January 1911, Klee met Alfred Kubin in Munich, who encouraged him in his plan to illustrate Voltaire”s Candide. At that time, Klee”s graphic work occupied a large space, and his inclination toward the sarcastic and whimsical as well as the ironic was very appealing to Kubin. He not only became friends with Klee, he also became his first notable collector. In 1911, through Kubin”s mediation, Klee met the art critic Wilhelm Hausenstein and in the summer of that year was a founding member of the Munich artists” association Sema, of which he became the managing director. In the fall he made the acquaintance of August Macke and Wassily Kandinsky. In the winter, he joined the editorial team of the almanac Der Blaue Reiter, founded by Kandinsky and Franz Marc. Other collaborators included August Macke, Gabriele Münter, and Marianne von Werefkin. Klee developed into an important and independent member of Der Blaue Reiter during the few months of his collaboration, but one cannot speak of a complete integration.
However, the publication of the almanac was postponed in favor of an exhibition. The first of the two exhibitions of the Blaue Reiter took place from December 18, 1911, to January 1, 1912, at the Moderne Galerie Heinrich Thannhauser in the Arco-Palais in Munich. Klee was not represented in this exhibition; the second exhibition, held at the Goltz Gallery from February 12 to March 18, 1912, featured 17 graphic works by him. This second exhibition was programmatically called Schwarz-Weiß (Black and White), since it exclusively considered prints. Kandinsky and Marc published the almanac Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), which had already been planned in 1911, in May 1912 at Piper Verlag, in which Steinhauer Klee”s ink drawing had been reproduced. At the same time, Kandinsky published his art-theoretical work Über das Geistige in der Kunst (On the Spiritual in Art).
Participation in exhibitions 1912
During a second stay in Paris from April 2 to 18, 1912, Klee and his wife Lily visited the gallery of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler as well as the collection of Wilhelm Uhde, saw works by Georges Braque, André Derain, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau and Maurice de Vlaminck, met Henri Le Fauconnier and Karl Hofer as well as Robert Delaunay in his Paris studio on April 11. In Cologne, from May 25 to September 30, 1912, four drawings by Klee were shown at the International Art Exhibition of the Sonderbund Westdeutscher Kunstfreunde und Künstler zu Cöln 1912. In December 1912, Paul Klee received Robert Delaunay”s essay Über das Licht (La Lumière) for translation for Herwarth Walden”s art magazine Der Sturm in Berlin, which Franz Marc had brought back for him from Paris and which appeared in the art magazine in January of the following year. During his stay in Paris, Klee had become acquainted with Delaunay”s window pictures and recognized in him “the type of an independent picture that leads a completely abstract formal existence … without motifs from nature,” as he wrote in an exhibition review in 1912. After his acquaintance with Delaunay, Klee”s understanding of light and color changed fundamentally, as he attempted to implement the inspiration he had gained from Delaunay pictorially in his paintings and prints, giving them more color and achieving the effects purely through contrasts and differences in tone. From September 1913 he participated in the exhibition of the First German Autumn Salon in Berlin, organized by Walden, with watercolors and drawings.
Alternatives:Tunis trip 1914Tunis journey 1914Tunisian trip 1914
On April 3, Klee left for a three-week study trip to Tunisia with August Macke and Louis Moilliet. The journey, which led him to painting, led from Bern via Lyon and Marseille, with detours to Saint-Germain (later Ezzahra, Arabic الزهراء), Sidi Bou Saïd, Carthage, Hammamet, Kairouan and back via Palermo, Naples, Rome, Milan, Bern to Munich. Moilliet, in contrast to Macke and Klee, hardly painted on the trip. Klee was the only one of the three painters to keep a diary, in which he described the entry to Tunis:
Klee”s watercolors tended toward greater abstraction, Macke preferred stronger colors, while Moilliet painted much larger areas. However, there was a mutual influence towards the end of the trip, as a comparison of the works of the three artists, created at about the same time, shows. Examples are Kairouan III by Macke, Klee”s Ansicht v. Kairouan and Moilliet”s Kairouan.
Klee, sensitized by Delaunay”s understanding of color for the intense light and colors of the south, painted several watercolors, to which he himself attached great importance for his further artistic work. Thus he wrote in his diary on April 16:
Later research revealed that Klee may have added to his diary after the fact. See also the section below: Klee”s edited diaries. After his return, the first exhibition of the artists” association “Neue Münchner Secession,” founded in 1913, opened in May 1914. Klee was a founding member and secretary of the group, which was formed from the merger of artists from the Munich Secession, the Neue Künstlervereinigung, and the “Sema” and “Scholle.” The following year he met the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who was allowed to have about forty of Klee”s sheets “in his room” for several months.
A short time later, the First World War began. Already on September 26, 1914, August Macke fell on the Western Front in France.
Alternatives:As a soldier at warAs a soldier in warAs a soldier in the war
On March 5, 1916, Klee received his draft notice to join the Bavarian army as a Landsturm soldier. As the son of a German father who had never sought to have his son naturalized in Switzerland, Klee was liable for military service during the First World War. On the day he was drafted, he learned that his friend Franz Marc had been killed at Verdun. After completing basic military training, which he had begun on March 11, 1916, he was deployed as a soldier behind the front lines. On August 20, Klee joined the airfield”s shipyard company in Schleißheim, where he accompanied aircraft transports and performed manual labor such as touching up the camouflage paint on the planes. On January 17, 1917, he was transferred to Fliegerschule V in Gersthofen, where he served as clerk to the treasurer until the end of the war. He was therefore spared a front-line assignment and was able to continue painting in a room outside the barracks.
Herwarth Walden”s gallery Der Sturm held a first exhibition of his abstract watercolors in March 1916, followed by a second in February 1917. Sales were good, and Walden requested new works as the art market responded positively. Paradoxically, when Klee was drafted, he had success with paintings that were precisely intended to document his renunciation of the war. In 1918, Klee achieved an artistic and commercial breakthrough in Germany. He was able to sell paintings to Walden alone for 3460 marks. In the same year, the Sturm-Bilderbuch Paul Klee, edited by Herwarth Walden, was published.
In June 1919, the Stuttgart academy students Willi Baumeister and Oskar Schlemmer submitted a proposal to the responsible ministry to appoint Paul Klee as a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart as Adolf Hölzel”s successor. Paul Klee was positively disposed to this proposal; however, it failed in the fall of the year due to the negative attitude of the academy under director Heinrich Altherr.
Through the mediation of Alexej von Jawlensky, Klee and the gallery owner Galka Scheyer met in 1919, who from 1924 founded the artists” association “under the group name Die Blaue Vier
Alternatives:Work at the Bauhaus 1920-1931Work at Bauhaus 1920-1931Bauhaus work 1920-1931
On October 29, 1920, Klee was appointed by Walter Gropius as workshop master for bookbinding at the State Bauhaus in Weimar. He began his teaching duties on January 10, 1921, and initially exercised them every two weeks. His appointment was a consistent cultural-political decision, since Klee, after initial hesitation, had declared his allegiance to the political left after the November Revolution in Munich. The painters of the Bauhaus were familiar with Klee”s work; they represented the direction of modern painting, which was shown in the gallery Der Sturm in Berlin. In September of the same year, he and his family moved permanently to Weimar. His son Felix, barely fourteen years old, became the youngest Bauhaus student at the time.
In March 1921, Klee participated in the group exhibition 14th Exhibition, the artists” organization Société Anonyme Inc. founded by Katherine Sophie Dreier and Marcel Duchamp in New York, where Paul Klee”s work was presented for the first time in the USA. Dreier, who first made contact with Klee in September 1920, owned about 21 of his works, which have been in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library as an estate in the Yale University collection since 1953.
At the Bauhaus, Klee took over the workshop for gold, silver and coppersmiths in 1922 and also the workshop for glass painting from the second half of the year – Wassily Kandinsky followed him to the Bauhaus on July 1, 1922. In February 1923, the National Gallery in Berlin held the second largest solo exhibition of the artist”s works to date in the Kronprinzenpalais with 270 works. After the Bauhaus restructured itself by taking on László Moholy-Nagy for the so-called “Vorkurs” (basic training) in 1923, Paul Klee”s lessons in “Formlehre” became an integral part of this basic training, and he also took over the workshop for weaving. In Weimar, Paul Klee initially lived in a boarding house at Am Horn 39; in the same year, 1921, he moved into a rented apartment at Am Horn 53.
On January 7, 1924, Klee”s first solo exhibition in the United States, organized by Société Anonyme Inc. opened in New York. The 16th Exhibition of Modern Art in the gallery space of Société Anonyme included 27 works by the artist, including Rosenbaum, 1920, Herbstblume, 1922, Blumen im Wind, 1922, Kleines Regattabild, 1922 and Der Hügel, 1922.
At the end of March 1924, Klee – in memory of the Blaue Reiter – founded the artists” group Die Blaue Vier (The Blue Four) in Weimar with Lyonel Feininger, Wassily Kandinsky and Alexej von Jawlensky, which had already been planned in 1919. Galka Scheyer visited them there to settle the modalities of the foundation as well as to sign the contract between her and the four artists. The group, which was thus formally confirmed as the “free group of the Blue Four” and which exhibited mainly in the USA in addition to the Bauhaus environment, first had to be made known through exhibitions and lectures. Galka Scheyer implemented the project until the year of her death in 1945, first in New York, then in California, under more difficult conditions than expected. She wrote to 600 universities and 400 museums to ask for an exhibition of the “Blue Four,” with little success at first, the agent reported in the 1920s.
Klee traveled to Paris in 1925 and had his first solo exhibition in France from October 21 to November 14 at the Galerie Vavin-Raspail, where 39 watercolors were shown. The catalog accompanying the exhibition was introduced with a preface by Louis Aragon. Paul Éluard contributed a poem entitled Paul Klee. Also in November, from the 14th to the 25th, the first Surrealist exhibition at the Pierre Gallery featured two paintings by Klee, alongside works by artists such as Hans Arp, Giorgio de Chirico, Max Ernst, André Masson, Joan Miró, Man Ray, Pierre Roy, and Pablo Picasso. However, he was never accepted as a member of the Surrealist group.
After the Bauhaus moved to Dessau in July 1926 – the Bauhaus in Weimar had been dissolved in 1925 due to political pressure – Paul Klee and his wife moved into one of the three semi-detached houses for Bauhaus masters built by Walter Gropius, the other half of which was occupied by the Kandinsky couple. From August 24 to October 29, Paul Klee traveled to Italy with his wife and son Felix. On December 4, the Bauhaus Dessau was opened. Klee was, among other things, head of the classes in free plastic and painterly design, the free painting class and the design teaching in weaving. The teaching of the pictorial elementary means (Bildnerische Formlehre, Farbenlehre) forms the starting point of Klee”s system. His central concern was the fundamental grasp of the relationships between line, form (surface) and color in pictorial space or within a given pattern. Despite a rationalist approach, he also acknowledged the role of the unconscious and understood art as an act of creation parallel to nature.
Klee had not undertaken a major trip since the 1914 trip to Tunis. His second trip to the Orient took him through Egypt from December 17, 1928 to January 17, 1929, where he visited Alexandria, Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan, among other places. The country impressed him with its light, its landscape and with its epoch-making monuments and their laws of proportion and construction; these impressions were to be reflected in his paintings. One example is the oil painting Necropolis from 1929, which depicts several monumental pyramids set on top of each other in strongly colored banded layers.
Following this trip, he also created geometrically structured pictures such as Fire in the Evening. The Klee Society, founded in 1925 by the art collector Otto Ralfs, had made his second trip to the Orient possible, but he did not receive as many impulses as on his first trip to the Orient. Thus he wrote to his wife Lily:
In August 1929 Paul and Lily Klee spent their summer vacation with the Kandinsky couple in Hendaye-Plage on the Atlantic coast of southern France.
On April 1, 1928, Gropius resigned as director of the Bauhaus due to conflicts with the municipal authorities. At his suggestion, the Swiss architect Hannes Meyer became the new director, who not only issued the motto “popular needs instead of luxury needs” for the Bauhaus, but also intensified cooperation with industry. The resulting political pressure from the rising National Socialism and dispute between the “applied” and the “free” artists like Klee came to a head.
Since Klee”s family still lived in Weimar, he held his classes only fortnightly, which caused incomprehension among colleagues and students. He could no longer reconcile his personal ideas about life and work with the goals of the Bauhaus. In a letter of June 24, 1930, to his wife Lily, Klee summed up: “Someone will have to come along who can stretch his strength more elegantly than I can.” He rejected the offer from the Bauhaus to grant him easier working conditions, as this was not compatible with his goals.
Professorship at the Düsseldorf Art Academy 1931-1933
In 1931, exhausted by the quarrels at the Bauhaus, on July 1 Klee accepted the call to a professorship at the Düsseldorf Art Academy that had been offered to him by Walter Kaesbach the previous spring. In the winter semester, Paul Klee began work in Düsseldorf with a course on painting technique, while maintaining his apartment in Dessau. In Düsseldorf, Klee rented a furnished room in Mozartstraße, later in Goltsteinstraße, but commuted between the two cities every two weeks, as he had both a studio in the Academy building and one in his apartment building in Dessau, which he continued to use. His Düsseldorf professor colleagues were Ewald Mataré, Heinrich Campendonk and Werner Heuser.
In October 1932, Klee traveled for nine days to Venice and Padua, having previously visited the Picasso exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zurich, which he described in a letter from Bern to his wife in Dessau as “a new confirmation”. It had been “the last strongly colored pictures a great surprise”; Henri Matisse had also been included, the “formats mostly larger than one thinks. Many of the win through delicate painting. All in all: the painter of today. At the beginning of 1933 he found a suitable apartment for the family in Düsseldorf, which could be moved into on May 1.
One of Klee”s largest pictures, who otherwise tended to work in small formats, the painting Ad Parnassum from 1932, dates from the Düsseldorf period. Klee, who worked with only four students, now had a secure income again, as in the days of the Bauhaus, but fewer obligations, so that he could pursue his artistic intentions.
Return to Switzerland as an emigrant in 1933
After Hitler”s seizure of power in 1933, Klee was asked to provide “proof of Aryan status. He had been insulted as a “Galician Jew” in the National Socialist paper Die rote Erde, and his house in Dessau was searched. He refrained from denying it, however, as he did not want to curry favor with those in power. To his sister Mathilde he wrote on April 6, 1933:
Klee obtained proof; however, he was labeled a “degenerate artist” and “politically unreliable” by the National Socialists and was summarily dismissed from his post on April 21. In October he signed a contract with Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler”s Galerie Simon in Paris, which was given a monopoly on all sales outside Switzerland. Klee had bid farewell to his working group with the words: “Gentlemen, there is an alarming smell of corpses in Europe”.
The Düsseldorf apartment was vacated on December 23, 1933. The Klee couple emigrated to Switzerland on the same day and moved into Klee”s parents” house in Bern on Christmas Eve 1933. In June 1934 they moved into a three-room apartment in the Elfenau quarter, Kistlerweg 6, after the furniture and paintings left behind had arrived in Bern from Düsseldorf. As early as the spring of 1934, he submitted an application for naturalization, which was rejected on the basis of the Berlin Agreement of May 4, 1933: German citizens were not allowed to apply for Swiss citizenship until they had resided in Switzerland continuously for five years.
The Kunsthalle Bern opened a retrospective of Klee”s work on February 23, 1935, in combination with works by Hermann Haller, which was later shown in a reduced form at the Kunsthalle Basel. In August of 1935 Klee fell ill with bronchitis, which developed into pneumonia, and in November with scleroderma, an incurable disease. This disease designation first appeared in the literature 14 years after his death. However, the diagnosis is hypothetical because medical records are lacking. Due to the disease, his work stagnated for the next two years. Despite the limitations caused by the increasing hardening of the skin, he once again had a very productive creative period beginning in the spring of 1937. He improvised a great deal and made use of various forms of expression, including pencil, chalk, and ink drawings. In the process, he addressed his deteriorating health through depictions of suffering figures and used larger brushes that made his work easier.
On July 19, 1937, the exhibition “Degenerate Art” was opened in Munich, which was shown as a traveling exhibition in Berlin, Leipzig, Düsseldorf and Salzburg, and in which Paul Klee was represented with 17 works, including Sumpflegende from 1919. From August of the same year, the first contemporary works of art were confiscated, including Klee”s works that had already been defamed as “degenerate” in the Munich exhibition. Later, another 102 works by Paul Klee in German collections were confiscated as “degenerate art” and sold abroad. A large number of the confiscated artworks reached the U.S. market via the Berlin art dealer Karl Buchholz, owner of the Buchholz Gallery in New York. Buchholz was the largest buyer of the “Commission for the Utilization of the Products of Degenerate Art” because he was able to pay with the corresponding foreign currency. He sent the works exclusively to his branch in New York, which was managed by Curt Valentin, as they were only to be sold outside the German Reich.
Between January and March 1939, the U.S. composer and artist John Cage, who had intimate knowledge of the group Die Blaue Vier through his close contacts with Galka Scheyer and who had already acquired a Jawlensky sheet for the 1934 series Meditations as a 22-year-old, organized a small exhibition at the Cornish School in Seattle with works by Paul Klee, Alexej von Jawlensky, and Wassily Kandinsky. In April of the same year, Klee submitted a second application for naturalization. His application was critically reviewed by the police, because the public viewed modern art as a corollary of left-wing politics. In secret reports by a police officer, Klee”s work was considered “an insult against real art and a degradation of good taste,” and the press insinuated that his art was promoted by Jewish merchants for purely financial reasons. Despite the police report, Klee received approval of his application for naturalization on December 19, 1939. On February 16, 1940, the anniversary exhibition “Paul Klee. New Works,” which was to be the only presentation of his late work conceived by the artist himself, opened at the Kunsthaus Zurich. After further hearings, the municipal council of the city of Bern wanted to make a final decision on his naturalization on July 5, 1940. However, his application was no longer processed, as his health deteriorated at the beginning of April 1940, which is why he began a stay at a sanatorium in Locarno-Muralto on May 10. He died on June 29, 1940, a week before the meeting, in the Clinica Sant”Agnese in Muralto.
Klee”s biographer, Carola Giedion-Welcker, had visited the artist in his Bern apartment shortly before his death. She reports that Klee was agitated and angered by the attacks of the press in connection with a major Zurich exhibition of his late work, which threatened to seriously disrupt or even thwart his application for naturalization.
In 1946, Felix Klee had a programmatic text by his father from 1920 engraved on his father”s gravestone at the Schosshalden Cemetery in Bern:
Alternatives:Klee”s estateKlee”s legacy
After Paul Klee”s death, Lily Klee remained in Bern. In order to prevent the Klee estate from being sold off, the Bernese collectors Hans Meyer-Benteli and Hermann Rupf, with the mediation of Rolf Bürgi, Lily Klee”s personal advisor and private secretary, acquired the artist”s entire artistic and written estate two days before her death on September 20, 1946. On September 24, 1946, Meyer-Bentely, Rupf and Bürgi and Werner Allenbach, who also lived in Bern, founded the Klee Society and transferred the estate of around 6000 works into their possession. One year later, they founded the Paul Klee Foundation, which they endowed with around 1700 works and several documents from the artistic estate. In 1950, a further 1500 works were added to the foundation, with a deposit in the Kunstmuseum Bern. Through this sale, Lily Klee was able to prevent the entire estate of her husband from being liquidated in favor of the Allied powers in accordance with the Washington Agreement, which Switzerland had joined shortly before.
In 1946, after Felix Klee had returned from Soviet captivity, Lily Klee suffered a stroke on September 16 “from joyful excitement” at the news of her son”s return home – as Maria Marc reported – as a result of which she died on September 22. Two years later, Felix Klee and his family also moved to Bern. There, the sole heir asserted his rights to the entire estate. A four-year legal dispute between him and the Klee Society was settled by an out-of-court agreement at the end of 1952. The estate was divided up. Both collections remained in Bern and, thanks to the initiative of the heirs of Felix Klee († 1990) – Livia Klee-Meyer († 2011), Felix Klee”s second wife, and Alexander Klee, († 2021) Felix Klee”s son from his first marriage – the Paul Klee Foundation and the Bern authorities were able to reunite them with the opening of the Zentrum Paul Klee in 2005.
Paul Klee was a loner and an individualist, although like other artists of his time he was associated with new artistic representations. He therefore differed from the Cubists of the Bateau-Lavoir in Paris, the Futurists in Milan, or the later Surrealist movement, which developed on a broader communal basis. Like Miró and Picasso, for example, Klee used motifs of childlike drawing and the artistic styles of various “primitive peoples” in his work. Primitivism is one of the important phenomena of 20th century art. The stick figures, simplified outlines, scribbles and the perspective of the as if amazed, curious looking at the people and their world, he explains with his discipline of wanting to reduce to a few levels. The primitive impression thus goes back to “final professional insight,” which is “the opposite of real primitiveness,” he wrote in his diary as early as 1909.
Graphic art plays a special role in Paul Klee”s oeuvre, as more than half of the total works in the œuvre catalog are graphic works. Thus Klee can be considered one of the most important graphic artists of the early 20th century.Paul Klee often created his paintings with different painting techniques, so he used oil paints, watercolors, ink and more. He often combined different techniques, and the structure of the background was an important element for him. His works have been attributed to several art forms, such as expressionism, cubism, and surrealism, but they are difficult to classify and allude to dreams, poetry, and music, and occasionally words or musical notes are embedded. Some of the later works are characterized by hieroglyphic symbols, the lines of which Klee paraphrased as “taking a walk for its own sake, without a destination.”
Among the few sculptural works created by Klee are hand puppets he made for his son Felix between 1916 and 1925. The artist did not consider them part of his overall oeuvre and did not list them in his catalog raisonné. 30 of these dolls have been preserved and are kept at the Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern.
Klee”s œuvre catalog, which he kept in his own hand from February 1911 until his death, lists a total of 733 panel paintings (paintings on wood or canvas), 3159 colored sheets on paper, 4877 drawings, 95 prints, 51 reverse paintings on glass, and 15 sculptures. He created about 1000 works in the last five years of his life. His compositions have gained astonishing popularity among the public, although they defy easy interpretation.
Alternatives:The early workThe early works
Klee”s early children”s drawings, which his grandmother had encouraged the young Paul to make, have survived; Klee included some of them in his catalog raisonné. A total of 19 etchings date from the Bern years; ten of them are included in the cycle of Inventions produced between 1903 and 1905, with which Klee made his first public appearance as an artist in June 1906 at the “International Art Exhibition of the Verein bildender Künstler Münchens ”Secession””. Klee had already removed Invention No. 11, the Pessimistic Allegory of the Mountains, from the cycle in February 1906. The satirical etchings of the cycle, for example the Virgin in the Tree
Klee developed a new technique beginning in 1905, when he began scratching with a needle on blackened glass panes; he produced 57 reverse glass paintings in this way, including the 1905 Garden Scene and the 1906 Portrait of his Father, with which he sought to combine painting and etching. Klee”s solitary early work came to a close when in 1910 he met the graphic artist and illustrator Alfred Kubin, who inspired him artistically. Further important contacts with the painterly avant-garde were to follow.
Inspiration by Delaunay and the “Blaue Reiter
In March 1912, Paul Klee completed the illustration of the novel Candide, which was published in 1920 under the title Kandide oder die Beste Welt. Eine Erzählung von Voltaire with 26 illustrations by the artist was published by Kurt Wolff.
Paul Klee came to color design through his study of the color theory of Robert Delaunay, whom he visited in his studio in Paris in April 1912. The confrontation with the works and theories of Delaunay, whose work is attributed to “Orphic” Cubism, also called Orphism, signifies the turn towards abstraction and the autonomy of color. Furthermore, the artists of the Blaue Reiter – especially August Macke and Franz Marc – were significantly influenced by Delaunay”s painting, and Klee, as an associated member of the editorial group of the Blaue Reiter, in turn was later inspired by their paintings, as he had not yet found his artistic focus at that time. Although he participated in the exhibitions and received important impulses for his later work, he did not yet succeed at this time in implementing his ideas about the use of color in his paintings. He saw even his attempts as contrived. During his time with the “Blaue Reiter” he was considered an excellent draftsman; however, the final breakthrough to colorful painting did not come for the artist until his trip to Tunis in 1914, which led him to his independent painterly work.
Mystic-abstract period 1914-1919
On the twelve-day study trip to Tunis in April 1914, planned together with Macke and Moilliet, he created watercolors that transpose the strong light and color stimuli of the North African landscape in the manner of Paul Cézanne and Robert Delaunay”s cubist conception of form. The aim was not to imitate nature, but to produce designs analogous to the formal principles of nature, for example in the works In den Häusern von Saint-Germain and Straßencafé. Here Klee transferred the landscape into a grid field so that it is dissolved into color harmony. At the same time, he created non-objective works such as Abstract and Colored Circles Connected by Ribbons of ColorA definitive separation from the object did not emerge in his work, however. Klee”s experiments and confrontations with color over a period of more than ten years had now led him to independent painterly work, with the colorful oriental world becoming the basis for his design ideas.
The watercolors painted on the Tunis trip were followed in 1915, for example, by the watercolor Föhn im Marc”schen Garten; it clearly reveals his new relationship to color and the inspiration provided by Macke and Delaunay. Although elements of the garden can be clearly identified, a further turn toward abstraction is perceptible. In his diary Klee writes at this time:
Under the impression of his military service, he created the painting Trauerblumen (Mourning Flowers) from 1917, which foreshadows his later works with its graphic signs, plant-like and fantastic forms that harmoniously combine graphics, color and object. Since Klee saw flying and especially crashing airplanes in Gersthofen, and he was to photograph airplane crashes in his spare time, birds that crashed like paper airplanes first appeared in his paintings, as in Blumenmythos from 1918.
In the 1918 watercolor Einst dem Grau der Nacht enttaucht (Once Escaped the Gray of Night), a compositionally realized poem that he presumably wrote himself, Klee recorded letters in small squares separated by color and separated the first from the second stanza by silver paper. At the top of the cardboard that supports the picture, the verses are handwritten. Here Klee no longer leaned on Delaunay in color, but on Franz Marc, although the pictorial content of the two painters did not correspond. Among others, Herwarth Walden, Klee”s art dealer, saw this as a “changing of the guard” in his art. From 1919 on, he used oil paints more frequently, combining them with watercolors and colored pencil. Villa R (Kunstmuseum Basel) from 1919 combines visible realities such as the sun, moon, mountains, trees and architecture, as well as surrealist set pieces and mood values.
Works in the Bauhaus period and in Düsseldorf
His works from this period include, for example, the abstract work betroffener Ort (1922), with graphic elements. From the same year comes the well-known painting Die Zwitscher-Maschine, which was one of the works removed from the National Gallery in Berlin. After it was defamingly shown in the “Degenerate Art” exhibition in Munich, it was purchased by the Buchholz Gallery, New York, a branch of the Berlin art dealer Karl Buchholz, from which the Museum of Modern Art acquired it in 1939 for US$75. The “chirping” in the title refers to the birds, whose beaks are open, while the “machine” is represented by the crank. At first glance, the watercolor appears childlike, but it is open to several interpretations. Among other things, it could be a criticism of Klee, who shows through the denaturalization of the birds that the mechanization of the world deprives creatures of their self-determination.
Other examples from the period include Goldfish from 1925, Cat and Bird in 1928, and from the group of his layered and striped paintings Hauptweg and Nebenwege in 1929. By varying the canvas background and due to his combined painting techniques, Klee always achieved new color effects and pictorial effects.
In 1932, during his time in Düsseldorf, he created Ad Parnassum, at 100 × 126 cm one of the largest paintings by Klee, who otherwise usually worked in small formats. In this mosaic-like work, which is worked in the style of Pointillism, he again combined various techniques and principles of composition. In memory of the trip to Egypt in 1928
Alternatives:The late work in SwitzerlandThe late works in Switzerland
Klee”s design during this period turned to large-format paintings. While 25 numbers were listed in the catalog raisonné for 1936 after the outbreak of illness, his productivity increased considerably to 264 works in 1937, 489 in 1938, and in 1939, his most productive year, he listed 1254 works. His works deal with ambivalent themes expressing his personal destiny, the political situation and equally his wit: The watercolor Musician, a stick figure face with a partly serious, partly smiling mouth, and the Revolution of the Viaduct, which is one of his most famous paintings and is taken as Klee”s contribution to anti-fascist art, are examples. In the viaduct from 1937 the bridge arches step out of line, they refuse to be just a link in the chain and make revolution.
Klee”s approximately 80 angel motifs were mainly created between 1938 and 1940 as an expression of his life situation at that time. Exhibitions at the Museum Folkwang in Essen and at the Hamburger Kunsthalle in 2013 commented on the theme as follows:
From 1938 Klee worked even more intensively with hieroglyphic elements. The painting Insula dulcamara from this year, which at 88 × 176 cm is one of his largest paintings, shows a white face in the middle of these elements, symbolizing death with its black-rimmed eye sockets. Bitterness and sadness are evident in many of his works from this period.
The painting completed in 1940, which is very different from the previous ones, Klee left unsigned on the easel before his death. It is a comparatively realistic still life Untitled, later called The Angel of Death, which depicts, among other things, flowers, a green jug, a sculpture and an angel. Separated from these groups on a dark background appears the moon. Klee had himself photographed in front of this picture on the occasion of his 60th birthday. It is believed that Klee considered this work as his artistic legacy.
Art theoretical writings, diaries, letters and poems
After marrying in 1906 and moving to Munich, Paul Klee was active not only as an artist but also as a journalist. From November 1911 to December 1912, for example, he wrote articles on Munich”s art and music life for the Bernese magazine Die Alpen. In the August issue of 1912, Klee published a report on the exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zürich, which ran from July 7 to July 31 and featured works by the “Modern League,” an association of Swiss artists founded by Hans Arp, Walter Helbig, and Oscar Lüthi, along with works by the Blaue Reiter. Klee uses the term Expressionism in his report, but differently than his contemporaries did. For Klee, Expressionism had not only advanced artistic development, but had truly opened up new territory for artistic possibilities in the sense of an “expanded field of art.”
After 1912, Klee limited his written publications to essays on art theory, written mainly between 1920 and 1925, and treatises on Wassily Kandinsky (1926) and Emil Nolde (1927). In 1957 the diaries (1898-1918) were published posthumously, in 1960 poems and in 1979 letters to the family. The art theories mean, along with the diary notes, the most important sources and guideposts to his work.
Already during the First World War, Klee began his first art-theoretical discussion, the Schöpferische Konfession (Creative Confession), in 1918. It was published in 1920 in Berlin together with the confessions of other painters and poets in “Tribüne der Kunst und der Zeit. A collection of writings”, edited by Kasimir Edschmid. The well-known first sentence from it – “Art does not reproduce the visible, but makes visible.” – indicates Klee”s design tendency to incorporate the visualization of an inner world of ideas into his work. Beginning with Leonardo da Vinci, moving on to Robert Delaunay and Wassily Kandinsky, Klee broke away from the notion of simultaneous pictorial capture in this writing. The small volume was first printed in Leipzig in 1919 and is kept in its original manuscript by the Paul-Klee-Stiftung in the Kunstmuseum Bern in an oilcloth booklet together with autobiographical texts by Klee.
In October 1920, the text Farbe als Wissenschaft (Color as Science) appeared. This short text, which Klee wrote at the suggestion of the art historian Hans Hildebrandt for the special color issue Das Werk. Mitteilungen des Deutschen Werkbundes, not only polemicizes against the mathematical color theory of the chemist and physicist Wilhelm Ostwald, “but also contains two fundamental points: There is no need for a theory of color and the color values are relative quantities. Color is understood here for the first time expressis verbis as an absolute.”
Among other contributions, Klee”s Wege des Naturstudiums (Ways of Studying Nature) appeared in 1923 in the first volume of the Bauhaus books, in which he describes nature as a “sine qua non” of artistic work, which should remain the artist”s starting point despite all free reshaping. In 1925, his Pädagogisches Skizzenbuch (Pedagogical Sketchbook) was published as Bauhaus Book No. 2, which is directed at the visual education of the student and deals mainly with the graphic and color means of expression.
On the occasion of his exhibition of paintings at the Jena Kunstverein in the Prinzessinnenschlösschen, which opened on January 19, 1924, Klee gave his famous Jena lecture on January 26, which the artist wrote during his time at the Bauhaus and which was first published posthumously in 1945 under the title Über die moderne Kunst (On Modern Art) by the publishing house Benteli, Bern-Bümplitz. In it, Klee developed the comparative image of the tree, its roots, and the crown; in it, the artist plays the trunk in the role of mediator, in order to “gather what comes from the depths and pass it on.” According to Klee, modern art should allow “the altered transformed image of nature” to emerge in the process of transformation. What the Cubists called “création et non imitation,” Klee formulated as “the rebirth of nature in the image.”
Contemporary views of Paul Klee
“Klee”s act is quite wonderful. In a minimum of stroke he can reveal all his wisdom. He is everything; intimate, delicate, and many other best things, and this above all: he is new,” is how Oskar Schlemmer, the later fellow artist from the Bauhaus, describes Paul Klee”s paintings in his diary in September 1916.
The writer Wilhelm Hausenstein, Klee”s friend, emphasizes Klee”s musical talent in his 1919 work Über Expressionismus in der Malerei (On Expressionism in Painting), summing up: “Perhaps Klee”s attitude is at all comprehensible only to the musical man – just as Klee himself is one of the most delicious violinists of Bach and Handel that ever walked the earth. In Klee, the German classic of Cubism, the musical has become the world”s companion, perhaps even the object of an art that seems not unlike a composition written in notes.”
When Klee visited the Surrealist exhibition in Paris in 1925, Max Ernst was enthusiastic about his work. His partly morbid motifs appealed to the Surrealists. André Breton single-handedly helped the surreal a bit, renaming Klee”s Room Perspective with Inhabitants from 1921 chambre spirit in a catalog. Critic René Crevel called the artist a “dreamer” who “liberates a swarm of little lyrical lice from mysterious abysses.” Paul Klee”s confidant Will Grohmann countered in the Cahiers d”Art that Klee “stands quite healthily firm on his feet. He is in no way a dreamer; he is a modern man who teaches as a professor at the Bauhaus.” Whereupon, as Joan Miró recalls, Breton cast a spell on Klee: “Masson and I discovered Paul Klee together. Paul Éluard and Crevel were also interested in Klee; they even visited him. But Breton despised him.”
The art of the mentally ill inspired Klee, along with Kandinsky and Max Ernst, after Hans Prinzhorn”s publication Bildnerei der Geisteskranken appeared in 1922. In 1937, some of the sheets from Prinzhorn”s collection were presented in the National Socialist propaganda exhibition “Degenerate Art” in Munich; they were juxtaposed with the works of Kirchner, Klee, Nolde and others in order to defame them.
In 1949, Marcel Duchamp remarked about Paul Klee: “The first reaction in front of a painting by Paul Klee is the very gratifying observation of what each of us has or could have done when we try to draw as we did in our childhood. At first glance, most of his compositions show a simple, naive expression, like we find in children”s drawings. On a second analysis, one discovers a technique that is based on a great maturity of thought. A deep understanding in the use of watercolors, a personal method of painting in oil, laid out in decorative forms, make Klee stand out in contemporary painting and make him incomparable. On the other hand, his experimentation has been adopted by many other artists in the past 30 years as the basis of recent developments in various fields of painting. His extreme fertility never shows signs of repetition, as is usually the case. He had so much to say that one clover is never like another clover.”
Walter Benjamin and the Angelus Novus
Klee”s work Angelus Novus, created in Weimar in 1920, was initially owned by the philosopher Walter Benjamin. It achieved fame through the latter”s essay On the Concept of History, in which it occupied a central position as the “Angel of History” (Thesis IX).
Musical works with reference to works by Paul Klee
Since his childhood, music played an important role for Paul Klee. Even at the time of his art studies in Munich, he was undecided whether to give preference to music or painting. His musicality is reflected in his paintings in many ways, though not obviously illustrative or descriptive, but he searches for analogies in musical and pictorial design processes. In contrast to his painting, he was committed to tradition in music. Thus, he did not appreciate late 19th century composers such as Wagner, Bruckner, and Mahler, nor the music of his contemporaries. Bach and Mozart were the greatest composers for him; he listened to and played works by the latter the most.
Klee”s works repeatedly animate sound artists to compose works such as:
Alternatives:Klee”s edited diariesKlee”s edited journals
Klee”s biographer Susanna Partsch points out that Klee edited his diaries accordingly in order to maintain a positive public image. The saying on his gravestone “On this side I am not at all comprehensible,” which he saw as his program, characterizes Klee the way he wanted to be seen as an artist. This text first appeared in the catalog of his first major solo exhibition at the art dealer Goltz in 1920 and then in the same year in Klee”s first monograph by Leopold Zahn. His friend and biographer Will Grohmann, whose monograph appeared in 1954, had still described Klee without a critical distance and had discussed the text with the artist. It was Jürgen Glaesemer and Christian Geelhaar who initiated a new phase in Klee research around the mid-1970s and thus made possible an objective view of the painter. The art historian Otto Karl Werckmeister, who lived in the United States, then provided a basis for the new research in several essays and a book, taking Klee”s social and political environment into account. A critical edition of the diaries, published by Wolfgang Kersten in 1988, complemented the new perspective. Further studies emerged that analyzed Klee”s late work under the diagnosis of his disease scleroderma.
“Paul Klee Meets Joseph Beuys”
In 2000, Schloss Moyland on the Lower Rhine showed the exhibition “Paul Klee Meets Joseph Beuys. A Tatter of Community”. It was repeated in a slightly modified form in the spring of 2002 at the Kurpfälzisches Museum in Heidelberg. The curators juxtaposed selected works by Beuys and Klee. Ein Fetzen Gemeinschaft – after the title of a work by Paul Klee from 1932 – referred to the exhibition concept of making the artistic neighborhood of the two artists clear in the title as well. Although Klee and Beuys (1921-1986) never met, the exhibition was intended to show the direct relationship of selected Beuys drawings to works by Klee. Both artists dealt, each in his own way, with themes of the plant and spiral growth in the animal and plant kingdoms. Likewise, their holistic view of the essence of nature was similar, and Beuys was surprised to discover that Klee had already worked similarly to him in 1904.
When Beuys set up zeige deine Wunde at the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in 1979, a large exhibition of Paul Klee”s early work was taking place on the first floor at the same time, encompassing works from the early children”s drawings up to the year 1922. Armin Zweite reports that Beuys walked from sheet to sheet with great patience for several hours, taking out his glasses to look closely at some of the sheets, even though everyone was waiting for him on the upper floor. However, when the Candide illustrations fell into his field of vision, his interest waned, and he muttered something like, “A yes, now the clover knows how it goes on, now it”s no longer interesting for me.”
Alternatives:”Klee and America””Klee and America.”Clover and America”
A traveling exhibition entitled Klee and America took place from 2006 to early 2007, starting in March 2006 at the “Neue Galerie” in New York, continuing from June at the “Phillipps Collection” in Washington, D.C., and from October to mid-January 2007 at the “Menil Collection” in Houston. It included over 60 works on display, with loans from private and government collectors in America and abroad.The exhibition recalled the enthusiastic reception of Klee”s work in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s – he himself had never been to the U.S. – when his work was ostracized in Germany as “degenerate art” and numerous pieces from German collections were sold to the U.S. The exhibition”s curator, Josef Helfenstein, pointed out that Klee”s influence on American art had not yet been fully explored and that this exhibition aimed to add an influential but often forgotten chapter to the history of modern art. Klee, he said, influenced young American artists who wanted to break free from the geometric, abstract style and surrealism. Klee”s cryptic signs, the possibilities he revealed regarding every kind of composition and every conceivable formal question, had shown a liberating path to the young generation of abstract expressionists in the 1940s and 1950s. The works, rarely or never exhibited before, came mainly from American collectors, including such notables as Katherine Dreier and Walter and Louise Arensberg, artists such as Alexander Calder, Mark Tobey, and Andy Warhol, writer Ernest Hemingway, and architects Walter Gropius and Philip Johnson. Among the exhibited works was, for example, the chirping machine from 1922.
Alternatives:”Klee meets Picasso””Klee meets Picasso
To mark the fifth anniversary of the Zentrum Paul Klee, a special exhibition with around 180 exhibits was held in Bern from June to September of 2010: “Klee meets Picasso”, which establishes the links between the two antipodes of almost the same age. Both artists broke with artistic traditions in a similarly radical way. They had met only twice in their lives: in 1933 Klee visited Picasso in his Paris studio, and in 1937 there was a return visit by Picasso, who arrived late at the Bern studio and looked at Klee”s work for a long time, but without comment. The confrontation with Picasso was marked by fascination on the one hand and repulsion on the other; it left traces in Klee”s work and flowed into his writings on art. His 1914 painting Hommage à Picasso, painted in a typically small format, picked up on the style of the new art movement of Cubism. It was created shortly after Klee had seen his first Picasso paintings at the home of the Bernese collector Hermann Rupf. In Klee”s œuvre, it is the only work dedicated to another artist. In an article in the Swiss magazine Die Alpen, he praised Cubism as the art movement of the future.
The curator of the exhibition, Christine Hopfengart, assumes that Picasso was influenced by the ironic, caricature-like motifs in Klee”s work. Both painters worked with deformed figures in the 1930s. Klee seemed to resist the unloved model more strongly. Some drawings that Klee created after Picasso”s visit to Bern are recognizable – psychologically interesting – as parodies of his rival. If the vital Picasso painted Minotaur motifs such as the Bacchante scene with Minotaur in 1933, in Klee”s work the mighty bull became an “Urch,” a rather peaceful, ponderous creature. The word is composed of “Ur” and “ox.” Klee referred to Picasso as the “Spaniard,” while Picasso is said to have given his Swiss colleague the name “Blaise Napoléon.” “Napoléon” is aimed at Klee”s taut bearing, while “Blaise” stands for Blaise Pascal; Picasso, as a forceful man, thus alluded to the spiritual in Klee.
Alternatives:Klee and the JaponismKlee and JaponismClover and the JaponismClover and Japonism
In 2013, an exhibition at the Zentrum Paul Klee referred for the first time to Paul Klee”s preoccupation with East Asian art. It ran until May 12 under the title From Japonism to Zen. Paul Klee and the Far East. Japonism was popular in Europe, especially France, in the second half of the 19th century and reached Germany 20 to 30 years later. Klee created some works under this influence between 1900 and 1908, in which the influences of Japanese woodblock prints (ukiyo-e) are visible, continued them later, and from 1933 on was engaged in Zen Buddhism and calligraphy. Klee”s work was considered a cultural mediator between Japanese tradition and Western modernity in Japan before World War II and achieved great fame in the postwar period.
Archive, museums and schools related to Klee
Since 1995, the “Paul Klee Archive” of the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena has housed an extensive collection on Paul Klee within the university”s art history department, which was established by Franz-Joachim Verspohl. It comprises the private library of the book collector Rolf Sauerwein, compiled over more than thirty years, with nearly 700 titles, consisting of monographs on Klee, exhibition catalogs, extensive secondary literature as well as original illustrated editions, a postcard and a signed photo portrait of Klee.
In June 2005, the Zentrum Paul Klee cultural center and museum planned by architect Renzo Piano was opened in Bern. From the world”s largest Klee collection of about 4000 works, about 150 works are presented in temporary exhibitions every six months. The extensive collection makes it impossible to show all the works at once. Also, Klee”s works need periods of rest because of their sensitivity, which is due to the artist”s technically experimental way of working. For example, he had used extremely light-sensitive paints, inks, and papers that would fade, change, or the papers would brown and become brittle if left in the exhibition rooms for too long.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art houses Carl Djerassi”s extensive Klee collection. Also well-known are the Klee departments of the Rosengart Collection in Lucerne, the Albertina in Vienna, and the Berggruen Collection in Berlin.
Schools were named after him in Gersthofen, Lübeck (university district), Klein-Winternheim, Bad Godesberg, Berlin-Tempelhof, Overath, his birthplace Münchenbuchsee and Düsseldorf.
Solo exhibitions and retrospectives
Alternatives:Group exhibitionsGroup shows
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Alternatives:By authorsAccording to authors
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