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AMAZING MAKER: Paul Klee (1879-1940)

On April 16, 1914, Paul Klee writes in his journal...

"Color has claimed me. I need no longer run after it. It has claimed me once and for all, that I know. This is the meaning of the happiest hour: I and color are one. I am a painter."

We can see this claim color had on Paul Klee. Much of his work shows evidence of an inquisitive explorer unearthing colors and comparing their many possiblities. It is this relationship that went on to influence so many artists after him. A relationship whose foundation had the belief that every color evokes a different emotional response in the viewer. It's firm belief that color at it's heart is musical. Indeed, in Klee's work, it is.

The swiss-german painter, print maker and daftsman was influenced and provided influence through major artistic movements, from the early 1900s until his death in 1940, including Expressionism, Surrealism, Cubism, German Expressionism, Bauhaus style, Modern art, Der Blaue Reiter. His part in these movements is extremely memorable - his persistent curiosity, his interest in relationships between things (line, color, music, composition), his playfulness. It is important to note he is never defined by any one movement, but rather flows through them. Defining in his line quality and color, a love for nature, symbolism and the return to childlike expression.

"In reading about Paul Klee, the word magical pops up often. His work is magical in that it is highly symbolic, with fantastic images and overlapping, translucent colors. The images are childlike, yet deeply meaningful. His work is unique, unable to fit in any specific movement or style."1

The influence of Paul Klee and his relationship to color and line is wide spread through out art history, as seen here with artists from movements such as Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Color Field Painting and Minimalism.

Today, art influenced by Paul Klee's explorations in line and color fill the feeds of social media like Pinterest and Instagram. Designers and artists continue to explore their relationship with color and the balance of line in their work (Faris Badwan, The Horrors). Paul Klee's influence can be seen reflected in paintings, sculptures, product design, even interior design and architecture. And though the reference can at time feel uncanny, it is the exploration that is the most important, the journey to each artisit's personal voice. As you continue to find your own voice, remember the power of creating as expressed by Paul Klee himself...

"Follow the ways of natural creation, the becoming, the functioning of forms. That is the best school. Then, perhaps, starting from nature you will achieve formations of your own, and one day you may even become like nature yourself and start creating."

Happy Making.



Name: Paul Klee

Known for: Painting, printmaking, drafting

Born: December 18, 1879 - Munchenbuchsee, Switzerland

Dead: June 29, 1940 (61) - Muralto, Switzerland

Nationality: Swiss German

Movements: Expressionism, Surrealism, Cubism, German Expressionism, Bauhaus style, Modern art, Der Blaue Reiter

Married: Lily Stumpf, m. 1906

Children: Felix Paul, b. 1908

Related Artists: Paul Cezanne, Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Josef Albers, August Macke, Lyonel Feininger, Alexej von Jawlensky

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