1879 - 1940

Paul Klee


A Swiss and German painter, graphic artist, art theorist, one of the biggest figures of the European avant-garde.

Paul, the son of a German father and a Swiss mother, was born on December 18 near Bern in Münchenbuchze. Both of his parents were musicians: his father taught music at a college, while his mother was a professional singer. From the age of seven, the boy played the violin, and other hobbies were drawing and writing poems. Despite the family’s desire that his son builds a musical career, he decided to achieve success in the fine arts, where he could “create, and not just perform.”

A citizen of Germany, P. Klee was born, spent much of his life and died in Switzerland. He was an active member of Blue Horseman group, he taught at Bauhaus – an influential school of architecture and industrial design, at the Dusseldorf Academy of Arts. Pictures came to the exhibition of “degenerate” art. The influence of the creativity of Paul Klee extends to many styles of the 20th century: Surrealism and Minimalism, geometric Abstract art and Abstract expressionism. The Center of P. Klee was opened in Bern.

Key ideas:

– Initially, Klee limited himself to graphic art in various techniques. In the etchings of the early series “Inventions”, the author demonstrates the ability to manipulate the line and tone to create figures, sometimes so strange and grotesque as “The Winged Hero.” A man born with one wing tries to fly and breaks his arm, leg (all this is explained by the text to work). The strange creature nicely represented a kind of a self-portrait of the progressive artist at the turn of the 20th century: trying to realize his ideas and his potential, he constantly struggles with public misunderstanding or the indifference of others. Such intellectual load of early works will make the distinctive qualities of the artist’s later work.

– Klee was transcendentalist by conviction (he advocated social equality, a spiritual self improvement of people, “equal to God”, closeness to nature) and used design, patterns-symbols and a system of signs in his art, using it as a kind of a portal to convey their philosophy principles.

– He challenged the traditional boundaries separating writing and visual art, and gave a new expressive, largely abstract pictorial language, introducing arrows, letters, musical notation, the ancient characters or black lines, standing inside a person or an object, to his work. At the same time, his symbolics rarely requires special reading – it is understandable even to poorly informed viewers.

– Klee’s vivid abstract works reflect his desire to not completely separate the image from the real world object. “The main path and paths” is a painting, the creation of which was inspired by Egyptian impressions; although it consists of irregular rectangles, trapezoids, narrow strips, it lets you also “read” a wide highway, reaching to the horizon, and the sky in the upper part of the canvas. Thus, the master manipulates the color, shape and line to create a sense of depth and movement in the real world.

– For most of his life, the artist was a musician (he practiced playing the violin as a warm-up for painting), so it is quite natural that he saw an analogy between music and fine art. Even in his lectures at the Bauhaus he compared the visual rhythm in the drawings to structural percussion (tapping) rhythms of the music of counterpoint master Sebastian Bach.

– Admiring the art of children who created free pictures without reliance on any examples in the image, Klee sought to achieve such simplicity in his own work. He often used intense colors in the unlearned manner of combining them. Constantly experimenting with artistic techniques and the expressive power of color, he violated the traditional or “academic” rules of painting. This also applied to the application technique – he sprayed the paint on the canvas, used embossing, chose unusual materials for the basis – burlap, cardboard panels and muslin.

– In his last period, after he got ill, the artist managed to create more than two thousand paintings. The later works concerned grief, pain, stamina and the acception of approaching death.

Paul Klee

On Artist





Wassily Kandinsky

Louis Moilier

Zinaida Vasilyeva


Pablo Picasso

Georges Braque

Robert Delone

Franz Marc

Augustus Macke

Heinrich Knirr

Walter Ziegler

Franz von Stuck

Aubrey Vincent Beardsley

William Blake

Francisco Goya

James Ensor

Alfred Kubin

Henri Matisse

Henri Rousseau

Maurice de Vlaminck

By Artist



Abstract expressionism


Gabriela Munter

Louis Moillite

Henri Le Foconier

Karl Hofer


Max Ernst

Mark Rothko

Jackson Pollock

Joseph Albers

Jean Dubuffet


Mediums: oil, canvas. Location: Paul Klee Center, Bern, Switzerland.



Mediums: oil, tempera, canvas. Location: Lenbachhouse Gallery, Munich, Germany.



Mediums: gouache, fabric, plywood. Location: Tate Modern Gallery, London.



Mediums: oil, canvas. Location: Lenbachhouse Gallery, Munich, Germany.



Mediums: oil, esso, canvas. Location: Collection Phillips, Washington.



Mediums: gouache, ink, watercolor, paper. Dimensions: 63,8 x 48,1 сm. Location: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, NY, US.



Mediums: watercolor. Location: Tate Modern Gallery, London.



Mediums: watercolor, ink, paper, cardboard. Location: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.



Mediums: watercolor, paper, cardboard. Dimensions: 13,3 x 13,9 сm. Location: Lenbachhouse Gallery, Munich, Germany.



Mediums: etching, dry needle. Location: Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA.