Paul Klee

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Paul Klee, photograph by Alexander Eliasberg , 1911
Signature of Paul Klee

Paul Ernst Klee (born December 18, 1879 in Münchenbuchsee , canton Bern , † June 29, 1940 in Muralto , canton Ticino ) was a German painter and graphic artist whose versatile work is classified as Expressionism , Constructivism , Cubism , Primitivism and Surrealism . Klee was in close contact with the Der Blaue Reiter editorial team and showed graphic works at their second exhibition in 1912. The artist, who was mainly active as a graphic artist up to this point, helped him to achieve his breakthrough as a painter on a trip to Tunisia that he carried out with August Macke and Louis Moilliet in 1914 . It became known as an art-historically significant trip to Tunis .

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, over the last few years from 1934 onwards, an extensive late work was created despite the growing burden of a serious illness. In addition to his artistic work, he wrote works on art theory such as Creative Confession (1920) and Pedagogical Sketchbook (1925). Paul Klee is one of the most important visual artists of Classical Modernism of the 20th century.


Childhood and school days

Paul Klee's birthplace; Today's Paul Klee school in Münchenbuchsee

Paul Klee was the second child of the German music teacher Hans Wilhelm Klee (1849–1940) and the Swiss singer Ida Marie Klee, b. Frick (1855-1921). His sister Mathilde († December 6, 1953) was born on January 28, 1876 in Walzenhausen . The 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 fact that Klee was able to develop his musical abilities through the parental home; they accompanied and inspired him until the end of his life.

Paul Klee as a student, 1892

In 1880 the family moved to Bern, where they moved into their own house in the Kirchenfeld district in 1897 after moving several times. Klee attended primary school from 1886 to 1890 and received violin lessons at the municipal music school when he was seven . He soon mastered the violin so masterfully that at the age of eleven he was allowed to play as an extraordinary member of the Bernese Music Society.

Meine Bude , drawing from 1896, Zentrum Paul Klee , Bern

Klee's other interests lay in drawing and poetry. There are countless caricatures in his school books and exercise books. With the drawing pencil he recorded the silhouettes of the surrounding cities like Bern, Freiburg im Üechtland and the surrounding landscape early on . His drawing talent was not encouraged, however, because his parents wanted to train him as a musician. In 1890 Klee switched to the Progymnasium in Bern. In April 1898 he began to keep a diary, which he completed by December 1918; he edited it in the same year and started it with the heading "Memories of Childhood". In September 1898 he finished school with the Matura at the literary school in Bern. He left Switzerland for further training and moved to Munich to study art. With this decision, he rebelled against his parents' wishes. In addition to his will to emancipate, there was another reason for him not to choose music: he saw the climax of musical creativity already passed and did not appreciate modern compositions.

Study and marriage

In Munich, Paul Klee first studied graphics at Heinrich Knirr's private painting school , as he had 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. From 1899 Klee settled at Walter Ziegler in the technique of erasing and etching form. 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 switched to Franz von Stuck's painting class at the Art Academy , in which Wassily Kandinsky was also studying. Klee, who was not very fond of the lessons, only took part in the lessons 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, 1902 with the sculptor Hermann Haller to Italy, via Milan , Genoa , Livorno , Pisa , Rome , Porto d'Anzio, Naples , Pompei , Sorrento , Positano , Amalfi , Gargano and Florence led, three experiences were decisive for his artistic expressiveness, "first the Renaissance architecture in Florence, the palaces of the churches that make the city of the Medici a total work of art, its constructive element, the architectural secrets of numbers, the proportions", second Klee first experienced “the imagination and fantasticness of natural forms, their splendor of colors, the fairytale-like nature of the marine fauna and flora” and, thirdly, “the playful sensitivity of the Gothic panel paintings from Siena ”.

Nude , 1905, pencil and watercolor on paper on cardboard, Paul Klee Foundation, Kunstmuseum Bern , Bern

After returning from Italy in 1902, Klee lived in his parents' house until 1906 and earned his living as a violinist with the Bernische Musikgesellschaft, at whose subscription concerts he also worked as a reviewer and substitute , and continued his artistic training by attending anatomical lectures and an anatomical course . In 1903 he created the first of the ten etchings created by 1905, which are summarized in the Inventionen cycle . In 1904 Klee studied the illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley , William Blake and Francisco de Goya in the Kupferstichkabinett in Munich , which, like the graphic work of James Ensor , made a lasting impression on him during this time.

In May and June of 1905, Klee went on a trip to Paris with his childhood friends, the budding artist Louis Moilliet and the writer Ernst Bloesch (1878–1945), where he studied older art in the Louvre and the gallery des Dedicated to the Palais du Luxembourg . It was in this year that Klee noticed impressionism for the first time , and in the autumn began to deal with reverse glass painting .

Paul Klee's sister Mathilde, wife Lily with son Felix and parents Hans and Ida Klee (Bern 1908)

In 1906 Klee visited the exhibition of the century of German art in Berlin and finally moved to Munich in September of the same year, where on September 15 he married the pianist Lily Stumpf , whom he had met in 1899 at a chamber music soirée. A year later, on November 30, 1907, their son Felix was born. Klee largely took on the upbringing of the children and the household in her apartment in Schwabing , Lily Klee paid for the living by no longer performing as a pianist, but instead giving piano lessons.

In May 1908 Klee became a member of the Association of Swiss Graphic Artists Die Walze and in the same year took part with three works in the exhibition of the Munich Secession , with six works in the Berlin Secession and in the exhibition in the Munich Glass Palace . Klee gave a lecture on musical performances in the Swiss magazine Die Alpen in 1911 and 1912.

Joined the “Blauer Reiter” in 1911

In January 1911 Klee met Alfred Kubin in Munich , who encouraged him to plan to illustrate Voltaire's Candide . At this point in time, Klee's graphic work took up a great deal of space, and Kubin was very inclined to be sarcastic, bizarre and ironic. He not only made friends with Klee, he also became his first well-known collector. In 1911 Klee met the art critic Wilhelm Hausenstein through Kubin's mediation and in the summer of the same year was a founding member of the Munich artists' association Sema , of which he became managing director. In autumn he made the acquaintance of August Macke and Wassily Kandinsky . In winter he joined the editorial community of the Almanac Der Blaue Reiter, founded by Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc . Other employees included August Macke, Gabriele Münter and Marianne von Werefkin . In the few months he worked with Klee, he developed into an important and independent member of the Blue Rider , but one cannot speak of complete integration.

The Goltz Gallery in Munich, 1912

However, the publication of the almanac was postponed in favor of an exhibition. The first of the two exhibitions of the Blue Rider took place from December 18, 1911 to January 1, 1912 in the modern gallery Heinrich Thannhauser in Munich. Klee was not represented in this exhibition; in the second exhibition, which took place from February 12 to March 18, 1912 in the Galerie Goltz , 17 graphic works by him were shown. This second exhibition was programmatically called Black and White , as it only considered printmaking. Kandinsky and Marc published the already planned 1911 almanac Der Blaue Reiter in May 1912 in Piper Verlag , in which Steinhauer Klee's ink drawing was reproduced. At the same time Kandinsky published his art-theoretical treatise On the Spiritual in Art .

Participation in exhibitions in 1912/1913

During a second stay in Paris from April 2 to 18, 1912, Klee and his wife Lily visited the gallery of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler and 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, and on April 11th Robert Delaunay in his Paris studio. 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 On Light (La Lumière) for translation for Herwarth Walden's art magazine Der Sturm in Berlin , which Franz Marc had brought for him from Paris and which appeared in the art magazine in January of the following year. Klee had got to know Delaunay's window paintings during his stay in Paris and recognized in him “the type of an independent picture that leads a very abstract formal existence without motifs from nature ...”, as he wrote in a 1912 exhibition review. After becoming acquainted with Delaunay, Klee's understanding of light and color changed fundamentally in that he tried to translate the ideas he had gained through Delaunay into his pictures and sheets, giving them more color and achieving the effects purely through contrasts and differences in tone. From September 1913 he took part in the exhibition organized by Walden at the First German Autumn Salon in Berlin with watercolors and drawings.

Trip to Tunis 1914

Motif from Hammamet , 1914, watercolor, Kunsthalle Basel , Basel
Vue de Saint-Germain , 1914, watercolor on paper, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, USA
View v. Kairuan , 1914, watercolor and pencil on paper on cardboard, Franz Marc Museum , Kochel am See

On April 3, Klee set out on a three-week study trip to Tunisia with August Macke and Louis Moilliet . The journey that led him to painting led from Bern via Lyon and Marseille , with side trips to Saint-Germain (later Ezzahra, Arabic الزهراء), Sidi Bou Saïd , Carthage , Hammamet , Kairouan and back via Palermo , Naples, Rome, Milan, Bern to Munich. In contrast to Macke and Klee, Moilliet hardly painted on the trip. Klee was the only one of the three painters to keep a diary, in which he described the entrance to Tunis:

“The sun of a dark force. The colorful clarity in the country promising. Macke feels that too. We both know that we will work well here. "

Klee's watercolors tended to be more abstract, Macke preferred stronger colors, while Moilliet painted much larger areas. However, towards the end of the trip there was a mutual influence, as a comparison of the works of the three artists created around the same time shows. Examples are Kairouan III von Macke, Klee's view v. Kairouan and Moilliets Kairouan .

Klee painted several watercolors, sensitized by Delaunay's understanding of colors to the intense light and colors of the south, to which he himself attached great importance to his future artistic work. He wrote in his diary on April 16:

“The color has me. I don't need to reach for her. She has me forever, I know that. That is the meaning of the happy hour: I and the color are one. I am an artist."

Later research revealed that Klee may have added to his diary afterwards. 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 that emerged from the merger of artists from the Munich Secession , the Neue Künstlervereinigung as well as the “ Sema ” and the “ Scholle ”. In the following year he met the poet Rainer Maria Rilke , who for a few months "was allowed to have around forty leaves of Klee in his room".

A little later the First World War began . August Macke died on the Western Front in France on September 26, 1914.

As a soldier in war

Paul Klee as a soldier, 1916

On March 5, 1916, Klee received his draft order as a Landsturm soldier in the Bavarian army . As the son of a German father who had never applied for his son's naturalization in Switzerland, Klee was conscripted during the First World War . On the day he was called up, he learned that his friend Franz Marc had died near Verdun . After completing basic military training, which he began on March 11, 1916, he was deployed as a soldier behind the front. On August 20, Klee came to the airfield shipyard company in Schleissheim , where he accompanied aircraft transports and carried out manual work, such as mending the camouflage paintwork on the aircraft. On January 17, 1917 he was transferred to the Aviation School V in Gersthofen , where he worked as the treasurer's clerk until the end of the war. Therefore, he was spared a front mission, and he was able to continue painting in a room outside the barracks.

In Herwarth Walden's gallery Der Sturm there was a first exhibition of his abstract watercolors in March 1916, a second followed in February 1917. The sales success was good, and Walden requested new works because the art market reacted positively. Paradoxically, when Klee was called up, he was successful with images that were intended to document his departure from war. In 1918 Klee achieved his artistic and commercial breakthrough in Germany. He was able to sell pictures to Walden for 3,460 marks alone . In the same year, the Sturm picture book 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 to succeed Adolf Hölzel as professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart. Paul Klee was positive about this proposal; However, it failed in the fall of the year because of the negative attitude of the Academy under director Heinrich Altherr .

First solo exhibition in Munich in 1920

Wonderful landing or “112!” , 1920, watercolor, Museum of Modern Art , New York

Through the mediation of Alexej von Jawlensky , Klee and the gallery owner Galka Scheyer met in 1919 , who from 1924 represents the artists' association “under the group name Die Blaue Vier / The Blue Four in the United States and wants to promote their artistic ideas through exhibitions and lectures . “On April 12, 1919, he joined the Soviet Republic in Munich , where he was active as a member of the Council of Fine Artists and the Action Committee of Munich's Revolutionary Artists. In Zurich, where he had to escape on June 11, after the defeat of the Soviet Republic, Klee met with artists of the Dada group, among others, Tristan Tzara , Hans Arp , Marcel Janco , Hans Richter and the composer Ferruccio Busoni , in which he campaigned for a piano professorship in favor of Gottfried Galston at the Zurich Conservatory. On October 1, 1919, Klee signed a general agency agreement with the Munich art dealer Hans Goltz , which, after several extensions, was to last until 1925. Paul Klee's first retrospective solo exhibition was opened on May 17, 1920 in the Goltz Gallery in Munich. It comprised 371 works of paintings, watercolors , sculptures, drawings and graphic sheets. The exhibition catalog contains a "biographical sketch according to the artist's own statements."

Work at the Bauhaus 1920–1931

Beginning in Weimar

Hoffmann's Tales , 1921, watercolor, Museum of Modern Art, New York

On October 29, 1920 Klee was appointed by Walter Gropius as a workshop master for bookbinding at the State Bauhaus in Weimar . He began teaching on January 10, 1921 and initially practiced it every two weeks. His appointment was a consequent cultural and political decision, since after the November Revolution in Munich, after initial hesitation , Klee had committed himself to the political left. The painters of the Bauhaus knew 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 finally moved to Weimar. His son Felix, barely fourteen, became the youngest Bauhaus student at the time.

In March 1921 Klee took part in the group exhibition 14th Exhibition, founded by Katherine Sophie Dreier and Marcel Duchamp , the artist organization Société Anonyme Inc. in New York , where Paul Klee's work was presented for the first time in the USA . Dreier, who first came into contact with Klee in September 1920, owned around 21 of his works, which have been in the Yale University collection since 1953 in the Kniecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library .

In 1922 Klee took over the workshop for gold, silver and coppersmiths at the Bauhaus and, from the second half of the year, the workshop for glass painting - 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 works by the artist in the Kronprinzenpalais in Berlin, with 270 works. After the Bauhaus was restructured by László Moholy-Nagy's takeover for the so-called “preliminary course” (basic training) in 1923, Paul Klee's teaching in “form theory” became an integral part of this basic training, and he also took over the weaving workshop. In Weimar, Paul Klee initially lived in a guesthouse Am Horn 39; in the same year 1921 he moved into a rented apartment at Am Horn 53.

"The Blue Four" 1924

Galka Scheyer with Feininger, Kandinsky, Klee and Jawlensky, collage on a page of the San Francisco Examiner from November 1, 1925

On January 7, 1924, Klee's first solo exhibition in the USA, organized by Société Anonyme Inc., opened in New York. The 16th Exhibition of Modern Art in the gallery rooms of the 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 founded - in memory of the Blauer Reiter - with Lyonel Feininger , Wassily Kandinsky and Alexej von Jawlensky the artist group Die Blaue Vier in Weimar, which was planned as early as 1919 . Galka Scheyer visited her there to regulate the modalities of the foundation and to sign the contract between her and the four artists. The alliance, which was formally confirmed as the “free group of the Blue Four” and exhibited in the USA in addition to the Bauhaus environment, first had to be made known through exhibitions and lectures. Galka Scheyer carried out the project until the year she died in 1945, first in New York, then in California, under more difficult conditions than expected. She wrote to 600 universities and 400 museums and advertised an exhibition for the "Blue Four", initially with little success, the agent reported in the 1920s.

Surrealist exhibition 1925

Klee traveled to Paris in 1925 and had his first solo exhibition in France from October 21 to November 14 at the Vavin-Raspail Gallery, where 39 watercolors were shown. The catalog accompanying the exhibition was introduced with a foreword by Louis Aragon . Paul Éluard contributed a poem called Paul Klee . Also in November, from the 14th to the 25th, the Surrealists' first exhibition in the Galerie Pierre , alongside works by artists such as Hans Arp , Giorgio de Chirico , Max Ernst , André Masson , Joan Miró , Man Ray , Pierre Roy and Pablo Picasso , shown two paintings by Klee. However, he was never accepted as a member of the group of surrealists.

Relocation to Dessau in 1926

Home of Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky in the Masters' House Estate in Dessau, Ebertallee 69/71

After the Bauhaus moved to Dessau in July 1926 - the Bauhaus in Weimar was dissolved in 1925 due to political pressure - Paul Klee and his wife moved into one of the three semi-detached houses built by Walter Gropius for Bauhaus masters, the other half of which was inhabited by the Kandinsky couple. From August 24th to October 29th, Paul Klee toured Italy with his wife and son Felix. The Bauhaus Dessau opened on December 4th . Among other things, Klee was head of the classes in free plastic and painterly design , the free painting class and design theory in weaving . The doctrine of the visual elementary means (visual form theory, color theory ) forms the starting point of Klee's system. His main concern was the fundamental recording of the relationships between line, shape (surface) and color in the image space or within a given pattern. Despite a rationalistic approach, he also recognized the role of the unconscious and understood art as an act of creation parallel to nature.

Trip to Egypt 1928–1929

Fire in the Evening , 1929, oil on cardboard, Museum of Modern Art , New York

Since his trip to Tunis in 1914, Klee had not undertaken any longer journeys. His second trip to the Orient took him from December 17, 1928 to January 17, 1929 through Egypt , where he visited Alexandria , Cairo , Luxor and Aswan , among others . The country impressed him with its light, its landscape and its epochal monuments and their laws of proportion and construction; these impressions should be reflected in his pictures. One example is the oil painting Necropolis from 1929, which depicts several monumental pyramids placed one on top of the other in layers of strongly colored bands.

Following this trip, geometrically structured images such as fire in the evening were also created . The Klee Society, founded in 1925 by the art collector Otto Ralfs , had made the second trip to the Orient possible for him, but he did not receive as many impulses as on his first trip to the Orient. So he wrote to his wife Lily:

"I had other impressions from Tunis and I am convinced that Tunis is much purer."

In August 1929 Paul and Lily Klee spent their summer holidays with the Kandinsky couple in Hendaye- Plage on the Atlantic coast of southern France.

Quarrels at the Bauhaus

Paul Klee 1927, photo by Hugo Erfurth

On April 1, 1928, Gropius resigned as director of the Bauhaus due to conflicts with the city authorities. At his suggestion, the Swiss architect Hannes Meyer became the new director, who not only gave the Bauhaus the motto “People's needs instead of luxury needs”, but also intensified cooperation with industry. The resulting political pressure from the emergence of National Socialism and the dispute between the “applied” and the “free” artists like Klee came to a head.

Since Klee's family still lived in Weimar, he only gave his lessons every two weeks, 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 dated June 24, 1930 to his wife Lily, Klee summed up: “Someone will have to come who uses his strength more elegantly than me.” He declined the Bauhaus offer to grant him easier working conditions, as this was not included is compatible with its goals.

Professor at the Düsseldorf Art Academy 1931–1933

Rising Star , 1931, oil on canvas, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen near Basel

In 1931, exhausted by the quarrels at the Bauhaus, Klee accepted on July 1st the call he had made in the spring of the previous year to a professorship at the Düsseldorf Art Academy , which Walter Kaesbach had offered him. In the winter semester Paul Klee started to work in Düsseldorf with a course on painting technique, although he kept his apartment in Dessau. In Düsseldorf, Klee rented a furnished room on Mozartstrasse, later on Goltsteinstrasse, but commuted between the two cities every two weeks, as he had both a studio in the academy building and one in his house in Dessau, which he continues to use used. His Düsseldorf professor colleagues were Ewald Mataré , Heinrich Campendonk and Werner Heuser .

In October 1932 Klee traveled to Venice and Padua for nine days after visiting the Picasso exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zürich , which he described in a letter from Bern to his wife in Dessau as “a new confirmation”. "The last strongly colored pictures were a big surprise"; and Henri Matisse had been included, the "formats tend to be larger than you think. Many of the [pictures] gain from delicate painting. All in all: today's painter. […]. ”At the beginning of 1933 he found a suitable apartment for the family in Düsseldorf, which they could move into on May 1st.

One of Klee's largest paintings, who otherwise worked in a rather small format, comes from his time in Düsseldorf, the painting Ad Parnassum from 1932. Klee, who only worked with four students, now had a secure income again, as in the Bauhaus era, but fewer obligations so that he could pursue his artistic intentions.

Return to Switzerland as an emigrant in 1933

After Hitler came to power in 1933, Klee was supposed to produce an " Aryan certificate ". He had been insulted as a "Galician Jew" in the National Socialist newspaper Die Rote Erde , and his house in Dessau was searched. However, he waived a denial because he did not want to seek the favor of those in power. On April 6, 1933 he wrote to his sister Mathilde:

“I have so far failed to do anything on the blood issue. Felix will [...] prove his Christianity. If it's officially required of me, then I have to do it too. But to do something on my own against such crude attacks seems to me unworthy. Because: If it were also true that I am Jewish and came from Galicia, it would not change an iota in the value of my person and my performance. "

Klee got the proof; However, he was described by the National Socialists as a “ degenerate artist ” and “politically unreliable” and on April 21 he was dismissed from his office without notice. In October he signed a contract with Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler's Galerie Simon in Paris, which received a monopoly on all sales outside Switzerland. Klee said goodbye to his working group with the words: "Gentlemen, there is a dangerous 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 Elfenauquartier , Kistlerweg 6, after the furniture and pictures they had 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 only allowed to apply for Swiss citizenship if they had resided in Switzerland without interruption for five years.

Last years

New Harmony , 1936, oil, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum , New York City
the snake is coming , 1939, paste paint on letter paper on cardboard, private property, Switzerland

The Kunsthalle Bern , opened on 23 February 1935, a retrospective Klee, in combination with works by Hermann Haller , later in a reduced form in the Kunsthalle Basel was shown. In August 1935, Klee fell ill with bronchitis , which developed into pneumonia , and in November with scleroderma , an incurable disease. This disease name appeared in the specialist literature for the first time 14 years after his death. However, the diagnosis is hypothetical in the absence of medical records. Due to the illness, his work stagnated for the next two years. Despite the limitations caused by the increasing hardening of the skin, he had another very productive creative phase from the spring of 1937. He improvised a lot and used various forms of expression, including pencil, chalk and ink drawings. He addressed his deteriorating state of 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 swamp legend from 1919 From August of the same year, the first contemporary works of art were confiscated, including the works by Klee, which had already been defamed as “degenerate” in the Munich exhibition. In the further course, another 102 works by Paul Klee in German collections were confiscated as " degenerate art " and sold abroad. A large number of the confiscated works of art ended up on the US market through the Berlin art dealer Karl Buchholz , owner of the New York Buchholz Gallery . Buchholz was the largest buyer of the “Commission for the Exploitation of the Products of Degenerate Art” because he was able to pay with the corresponding foreign currency . He only sent the works to his branch in New York, which was run by Curt Valentin , as they were only to be sold outside of the German Reich .

prelude to a serenade , 1940, paste paint on packing paper on cardboard, courtesy Galerie Vömel, Düsseldorf

Between January and March 1939, the American composer and artist John Cage , who had intimate knowledge of the group Die Blaue Vier through his close contacts with Galka Scheyer and who was 22 years old, organized a Jawlensky sheet on the series Meditations from the year In 1934 had acquired a small exhibition in 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 request was critically examined by the police, as modern art was viewed by the public as a by-product of left-wing politics. In secret reports by a police officer, Klee's work was viewed as "an insult to real art and a deterioration in good taste," and the press alleged that his art was promoted by Jewish traders for purely financial reasons. Despite the police report, Klee received his application for naturalization on December 19, 1939. On 16 February 1940, the Kunsthaus Zurich , the anniversary exhibition "Paul Klee. New Works ”, which was to be the only presentation of his late work conceived by the artist himself. After further hearings, the City Council of Bern wanted to make a final decision on naturalization on July 5, 1940. However, his application was no longer processed because his health deteriorated at the beginning of April 1940, which is why he began a spa stay in a sanatorium in Locarno - Muralto on May 10th . He died on June 29, 1940, a week before the session, in the Clinica Sant'Agnese in Muralto.

Klee's biographer, Carola Giedion-Welcker , visited the artist in his Bern apartment shortly before his death. She reports that Klee was upset and angry about the attacks by the press in connection with a major exhibition of his late work in Zurich, as they threatened to disrupt or even thwart his request for naturalization.

Paul Klee's grave in Schosshaldenfriedhof

In 1946 , Felix Klee had a programmatic text from 1920 engraved on his father's grave slab in Bern's Schosshaldenfriedhof :

"On this side I am not at all comprehensible
because I live as well with the dead
as I do with the unborn.
A little closer to the heart of creation than usual,
and still not close enough."

Klee's estate

After Paul Klee's death, Lily Klee stayed in Bern. In order to prevent the Klee estate from being sold out, the Bern collectors Hans Meyer-Benteli and Hermann Rupf, through Rolf Bürgi, Lily Klee's personal advisor and private secretary, acquired the entire artistic and written collection two days before her death on September 20, 1946 Estate of the artist. 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, comprising around 6,000 works, into their possession. A year later, she founded the Paul Klee Foundation, which she stocked with around 1,700 works and several documents from the artistic estate. In 1950 , a further 1,500 works were added to the foundation with a deposit in the Kunstmuseum Bern . Through this sale, Lily Klee was able to prevent her husband's entire estate from being liquidated in favor of the Allied powers under the Washington Agreement , which Switzerland had recently signed up to.

Portrait relief of Paul Klee at the Paul Klee Fountain in Bern

In 1946, after Felix Klee had returned from Soviet captivity, Lily Klee suffered a stroke on September 16 “with excitement” at the news of her son's return - as Maria Marc reported - from the consequences 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-Gesellschaft was settled by an out-of-court agreement at the end of 1952. The estate has been divided. Both collections remained in Bern and, thanks to the initiative of the heirs of Felix Klee († 1990) - Livia Klee-Meyer († 2011), the second wife of Felix Klee, and Alexander Klee , the son of Felix Klee from his first marriage - the Paul Klee Foundation and the Bernese authorities will be merged again with the opening of the Paul Klee Center in 2005.


"Art does not reproduce the visible, but makes it visible."

- Paul Klee: Creative Confession , 1920
What is he lacking? 1930, stamp drawing in ink on Ingres paper on cardboard, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen near Basel

Paul Klee was a loner and 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. The primitivism is one of the important phenomena of the 20th century. With his discipline, he explains the stick figures, simplified outlines, doodles and the perspective of those who look amazed, curious about people and their world, wanting to reduce them to a few levels. The primitive impression goes back to “last professional knowledge”, which is “the opposite of real primitivity”, he wrote in his diary in 1909.

Graphics play a special role in Paul Klee's work, because more than half of the complete works in the œuvre catalog are graphic works. Klee can therefore be regarded as 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 other things. He often combined different techniques with one another, whereby the structure of the subsurface was an important component. His works have been assigned to several art forms, including Expressionism , Cubism, and Surrealism, but they are difficult to classify and allude to dreams, poetry, and music, and occasionally have words or musical notes embedded. The later works are in part marked by hieroglyphic symbols, the lines of which Klee described as “taking a walk for one's own sake, without a goal”.

Paul Klee: hand puppet from 1919, untitled (
crowned poet )

The few plastic works created by Klee include hand puppets that he made for his son Felix between 1916 and 1925. The artist did not see them as part of his oeuvre and did not list them in his catalog raisonné. 30 of these dolls have been preserved and are being kept in the Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern.

Klee's personal catalog of oeuvre 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 glass paintings and 15 sculptures. He created around 1000 works in the last five years of his life. His compositions have achieved astonishing popularity with the public, although they defy easy interpretation.

The early work

Klee's early children's drawings, to which his grandmother encouraged young Paul, have survived, and Klee has included some of them in his catalog raisonné. A total of 19 etchings come from the Bern years; ten of them are included in the cycle of inventions created between 1903 and 1905 , with which Klee first appeared as an artist in June 1906 at the "International Art Exhibition of the Association of Fine Artists Munich ' Secession " ". Invention No. 11, the Pessimistic Allegory of the Mountains , was removed from the cycle by Klee in February 1906. The satirical etchings of the cycle, for example the Jungfrau im Baum / Jungfrau (dreaming) from 1903 and Greiser Phoenix from 1905, were rated as “surrealist outposts”, as Klee later wrote in his diary. The Virgin in the Tree is based on the motif Le cattive madri (1894) by Giovanni Segantini . The design shows an escalation into the bizarre, as it appeared literarily in the works of Alfred Jarry , Max Jacobs and - in Germany - Christian Morgenstern , whose grotesque poetry had a direct influence on Klee. It shows a cultural pessimism which at the turn of the 20th century finds a counterpart in the works of the Symbolists . Invention No. 6, the etching Two Men, Assuming Each Other in Higher Positions from 1903, shows two naked men who can only be recognized as the two Emperors Wilhelm II and Franz Joseph I by their hairstyles and beards . Since they are stripped of their clothes and insignia , “both of them no longer have any clues as to whether their conventional honors […] are appropriate or not. Since they assume that their counterpart could be valued higher, ” they antichamber in front of each other.

Klee developed a new technique from 1905, when he began scratching blackened glass with a needle; In this way he created 57 reverse glass pictures, including the garden scene from 1905 and the portrait of his father from 1906, with which he tried to combine painting and etching. Klee's lonely early work came to an end when he met the graphic artist and illustrator Alfred Kubin in 1910 , who inspired him artistically. Further important contacts to the picturesque avant-garde were to follow.

Inspiration from Delaunay and the "Blue Rider"

Candide 1st cap. chassa Candide du château à grands coups de pied dans le derrière , 1911, pen on paper on cardboard, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern

In March 1912 Paul Klee completed the illustration of the novel Candide , which was published in 1920 under the title Kandide or Die Beste Welt. A story by Voltaire with 26 illustrations by the artist was published by Kurt Wolff .

Paul Klee came to color design by studying the color theory of Robert Delaunay , whom he visited in his studio in Paris in April 1912. Dealing with the works and theories of Delaunay, whose work is attributed to "Orphic" Cubism , also called Orphism , means turning to abstraction and the autonomy of color. Furthermore, the artists of the Blue Rider - above all August Macke and Franz Marc - were significantly influenced by Delaunay's painting, and Klee, as an associated member of the editorial team of the Blue Rider, was later inspired by their paintings, since he was his artistic focus at this time had not yet found. Although he took part in the exhibitions and received important impulses for his later work, at that time he was not yet able to implement his ideas of how to deal with color in his pictures. He even saw his experiments as constructed. During his time at the “Blauer Reiter” he was considered an excellent draftsman; The final breakthrough to colored painting, however, was not achieved until the artist's trip to Tunis in 1914, which led him to independent painterly work.

Mystical-abstract period 1914–1919

On the twelve-day study trip to Tunis in April 1914 , which was planned together with Macke and Moilliet, watercolors were created that implement 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 create designs analogous to the formal principles of nature, for example in the works In the Houses of Saint-Germain and Street Café . Klee transferred the landscape into a grid field so that it was dissolved into color harmony. At the same time, non-representational works such as Abstract and Colored Circles were connected by ribbons. However, there was no definitive separation from the object in his work. Klee's attempts and discussions with color, which had lasted over ten years, had now led him to an independent painterly work, whereby the richly colored oriental world became the basis of his design ideas.

After the watercolors that were created on the trip to Tunis, for example, the watercolor Föhn in Marc'schen Garten followed in 1915 ; it clearly shows his new relationship to color and the suggestions made by Macke and Delaunay. Although elements of the garden can be clearly identified, a further turn to abstraction is noticeable. At this time, Klee wrote in his diary:

Once escaped from the gray of the night , 1918, watercolor, pen and pencil on paper, combined with silver paper, Kunstmuseum Bern , Bern
“There are rubble in the large mold pit, some of which you are still hanging on. They provide the material for abstraction. [...] The more terrifying this world, the more abstract the art, while a happy world produces art from this world. "

Under the impression of his military service, the picture Mourning Flowers was created in 1917, which with its graphic signs, vegetable and fantastic forms foreshadows his later works, which harmoniously combine graphics, color and object. Since Klee saw flying and above all crashing planes in Gersthofen and he was supposed to photograph plane crashes in his spare time, birds that crashed like paper planes appeared in his pictures for the first time, as in the flower myth from 1918.

In the watercolor once the gray of the night escapes from 1918, a compositionally transposed poem that he presumably wrote himself, Klee recorded letters in small, color-separated squares and separated the first from the second stanza with silver paper. The verses are handwritten on top of the cardboard box that bears the picture. Klee no longer leaned on Delaunay in terms of color, but on Franz Marc, although the pictorial content of the two painters did not correspond. Herwarth Walden, Klee's art dealer, saw it as a “changing of the guard” for his art. From 1919 he used oil paints more often, which he combined with watercolors and colored pencils. The Villa R (Kunstmuseum Basel) from 1919 combines visible realities such as sun, moon, mountains, trees and architecture, as well as surrealistic set pieces and mood values.

Works in the Bauhaus period and in Düsseldorf

The Twitter
Machine , 1922, oil break and watercolor on paper mounted on cardboard, Museum of Modern Art, New York

His works from this period include, for example, the abstract work Affected Place (1922) with graphic elements . The famous painting The Twitter Machine , which was one of the works that was removed from the National Gallery in Berlin , dates from the same year . After it was defamatory in the exhibition “ Degenerate Art ” in Munich, it was bought by the Buchholz Gallery, New York, a branch of the Berlin art dealer Karl Buchholz , from whom it acquired the Museum of Modern Art in 1939 for US $ 75. The “chirping” in the title refers to the birds with their bills open while the “machine” is represented by the crank. At first glance, the watercolor looks childish, but allows for several interpretations. Among other things, it could be a criticism by Klee who shows by denaturing birds that the mechanization of the world robs creatures of their self-determination.

Further examples from the period are the goldfish from 1925, the cat and bird in 1928 and from the group of his layer and stripe pictures Hauptweg and Nebenwege 1929. By varying the canvas background and using his combined painting techniques, Klee always achieved new color effects and visual effects.

During his time in Düsseldorf in 1932, Ad Parnassum was created , with 100 × 126 cm one of Klee's largest paintings, which otherwise mostly worked in small formats. In this mosaic-like work, which is worked in the style of pointillism , he again combined various techniques and compositional principles. In memory of the trip to Egypt in 1928/29, Klee built a color field from individual stamped points, to which he gave a representational frame with a few stamped lines, reminiscent of a pyramid. The sun seems to shine above the roof of the " Parnassus ". The title identifies the picture as the seat of Apollo and the Muses . In the last year in Germany, in 1933, numerous paintings and drawings were created; the catalog raisonné comprises 482 numbers. This year's self-portrait - with the programmatic title removed from the list  - provides information about his state of health: Klee had lost his professorship. The abstract portrait, in dark colors, has closed eyes and a clenched mouth, a large “X” runs through the implied back of the head - his art was no longer valid in Germany.

The late work in Switzerland

Revolution of the Viaduct , 1937, oil on oil primer on cotton on a stretcher, Hamburger Kunsthalle

Klee's design at this time turned to large-format pictures. While 25 numbers were listed in the catalog raisonné for 1936 after the outbreak of the disease, his productivity increased considerably to 264 works in 1937, to 489 in 1938, and in 1939, his most productive year, he performed 1254 works. His works deal with ambivalent topics that express his personal fate, the political situation and also 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 pictures and is known as clover Contribution to anti-fascist art is understood as examples. In the viaduct built in 1937, the bridge arches step out of line, they refuse to be just one link in the chain and make a revolution.

Klee's around 80 angel motifs were created mainly between 1938 and 1940 as an expression of his life situation at the time. Exhibitions in the Museum Folkwang in Essen and in the Hamburger Kunsthalle in 2013 commented on the topic as follows:

“As winged hybrid beings, half human half heavenly messenger, they represent a transitional form between earthly and supernatural existence that meets the current need for spirituality, but at the same time also reflects modern skepticism towards religion and questions of faith. […] It is not uncommon for Klee's angels to come close to the devil: Lucifer and Leviathan, Mephisto and 'Chindlifrässer' are diabolical figures that Klee places directly with his angels and sometimes even gives them their shape. This closeness of angels and devils corresponds to Klee's philosophy of a balance of forces, which does not know the opposition between good and evil, but represents the relativity of moral values. "

From 1938 Klee worked even more intensively with hieroglyphic elements. The painting Insula dulcamara from this year, which is one of his largest paintings at 88 × 176 cm, shows a white face in the middle of these elements, which symbolizes death with its black-rimmed eye sockets. Bitterness and sadness can be seen in many of his works from this period.

The painting, completed in 1940, which differs greatly from the previous ones, was left unsigned on the easel by Klee before his death. It is a comparatively realistic still life untitled , later called The Angel of Death , on which, among other things, flowers, a green jug, a sculpture and an angel are depicted. Separated from these groups, the moon appears on a dark background. Klee had himself photographed in front of this picture on the occasion of his 60th birthday. It is believed that Klee viewed this work as his artistic legacy.

Art theoretical writings, diaries, letters and poems

Diary III , 1915, Paul Klee Foundation, Bern

After his marriage in 1906 and moving to Munich, Paul Klee worked as a journalist as well as an artist. From November 1911 to December 1912 he wrote articles about 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 from July 7th to July 31st , in which the works of the "Modern Bund" founded by Hans Arp , Walter Helbig and Oscar Lüthi, an association of Swiss artists, were shown together with works by the Blue Rider . Klee uses the term expressionism in his report , albeit differently than his contemporaries did. For Klee, Expressionism not only pushed the artistic development further, but really opened up new territory for artistic possibilities in the sense of an "expanded art field".

After 1912 Klee limited his written publications to essays on art theory, which were mainly written between 1920 and 1925, and to treatises on Wassily Kandinsky (1926) and Emil Nolde (1927). In 1957 the diaries (1898–1918) were published posthumously , in 1960 poems and 1979 letters to the family . In addition to the diary notes, the art theories are the most important sources and guides to his work.

In 1918, during the First World War , Klee began his first exploration of art theory, the creative confession . It was published in Berlin in 1920 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." - shows Klee's design tendency to insert the visualization of an inner world of ideas into his work. Starting with Leonardo da Vinci , through Robert Delaunay and Wassily Kandinsky , Klee broke away from the concept of simultaneous image capture in this work . The small volume was first printed in Leipzig in 1919 and is kept in the original manuscript by the Paul Klee Foundation in the Kunstmuseum Bern in an oilcloth booklet together with Klee's autobiographical texts.

Lecture , 1924, Folio 4 recto, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern
Two pages from the educational sketchbook ( Bauhaus books , Volume 2, 1925)

Color as a science was published in October 1920 . This short text, which Klee wrote for the special color edition Das Werk at the suggestion of the art historian Hans Hildebrandt . Communications of the German Work Federation wrote, polemic not only against the math tables color theory of the chemist and physicist Wilhelm Ostwald , "but contains two basic instructions: It needs no color theory and the color values are relative sizes. For the first time, the color is understood expressis verbis as an absolute. "

In the first volume of the Bauhaus books in 1923, among other contributions, Klee's Paths of Study of Nature appeared , in which he describes nature as a “ sine qua non ” of artistic work, which, despite all free transformation, should remain the artist's starting point. In 1925, his Pedagogical Sketchbook was published as Bauhaus Book No. 2 , which is aimed at the visual education of the pupil and mainly deals with graphic and colored means of expression.

On the occasion of his opened on Jan. 19, 1924 photo exhibition at the Jena Kunstverein in princesses castle Klee held on January 26, his now famous Jena lecture by the artist in his time wrote at the Bauhaus and the first time in 1945 posthumously under the title About the modern art in publishing Benteli , Bern-Bümplitz, was published. In it Klee developed the comparative image of the tree, its roots and the crown, in which the artist plays the trunk in the role of mediator in order to “collect and pass on what comes from below”. According to Klee, in the process of transformation, modern art should create “the changed, reshaped image of nature”. What the Cubists called "création et non imitation" , Klee formulated as "the rebirth of nature in pictures."


Contemporary perspectives from Paul Klee

“Klee's act is wonderful. In a minimum of strokes he can reveal all his wisdom. He is everything; intimate, tender, and many other best things, and above all: it is new, ”is how Oskar Schlemmer , who later became an artist colleague from the Bauhaus, describes Paul Klee's pictures in his diary in September 1916.

The writer Wilhelm Hausenstein , Klee's friend, emphasized his musical talent in his work On Expressionism in Painting from 1919 and sums it up: “Perhaps Klee's attitude is only understandable to musical people - how Klee himself is one of the most delicious violinists by Bach and Handel, who ever walked the earth. [...] With Klee, the German classic of Cubism, the musical world has become a companion, perhaps even the object of an art that does not seem unlike a composition written in sheet music. "

Flyer for the exhibition “Degenerate Art” in Munich, 1937

When Klee visited the surrealist exhibition in Paris in 1925, Max Ernst was enthusiastic about his work. His sometimes morbid motifs appealed to the surrealists. André Breton helped a little with the surreal and renamed Klee's room perspective with residents from 1912 in a catalog in chambre spirit . The critic René Crevel described the artist as a “dreamer”, “who freed a swarm of small lyrical lice from mysterious abysses.” Paul Klee's confidante Will Grohmann opposed the Cahiers d'Art that Klee “is quite healthy on his feet. He's in no way a dreamer; he is a modern person who teaches as a professor at the Bauhaus. "Whereupon Breton, as Joan Miró recalls, casts a ban on Klee:" Masson and I discovered Paul Klee together. Even Paul Éluard and Crevel Interested in Clover, they even visited him. But Breton despises him. "

Klee, along with Kandinsky and Max Ernst, was inspired by the art of the mentally ill after Hans Prinzhorn's publication Bildnerei der mentally ill appeared in 1922. In 1937 some sheets from Prinzhorn's collection were presented in the National Socialist propaganda exhibitionDegenerate Art ” in Munich, they were contrasted 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 to a painting by Paul Klee is the very gratifying finding 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 that we also find in children's drawings. […] A second analysis reveals a technique that is based on great maturity in thinking. A deep understanding in dealing with watercolors, a personal method of painting in oil, applied in decorative forms, make Klee stand out in contemporary painting and make him incomparable. On the other hand, his experiment has been adopted by many other artists over the past 30 years as the basis for new developments in the most varied of areas of painting. Its extreme fertility never shows any sign of repetition, as it usually does. He had so much to say that one clover is never like another clover. "

Walter Benjamin and the Angelus Novus

Angelus Novus , 1920, oil pause and watercolor on paper laid down on cardboard, Israel Museum , Jerusalem

Klee's work Angelus Novus , created in Weimar in 1920, was once owned by Walter Benjamin . He made this fleeting and translucent creature with the piercing, demanding eyes famous, because he saw in the watercolor drawing the " angel of history ", which he described in 1940 in his theses on the concept of history / thesis IX .

Musical works inspired by Klee

The highly musical Paul Klee, in contrast to his painting, was committed to tradition in music, so he did not appreciate composers of the late 19th century such as Wagner , Bruckner and Mahler , nor the music of his contemporaries. Bach and Mozart were the greatest composers for him; He loved to hear and play works by the latter.

Klee's works, however, repeatedly animated Tonkunstler to compositions such as

  • the Argentine Roberto García Morillo in 1943 with Tres pinturas de Paul Klee ,
  • Giselher Klebes performed his orchestral work Die Zwitschermaschine with the subtitle Metamorphoses over the picture by Paul Klee at the Donaueschinger Musiktage .
  • Sándor Veress 1951 with the Hommage à Paul Klee , a fantasy for two pianos and strings,
  • the American artist David Hammond 1958 with World by Paul Klee , a four-part work,
  • Gunther Schuller with Seven Studies on Klee's Pictures in 1959/60; contained Age sound (Antique Harmonies) , Abstract Trio (Abstract Trio) , Little Blue Devil , chirping machine (Twittering Machine) , Arab Village , An eerie moment (An Eerie moment) and Pastoral ,
  • Peter Maxwell Davies 1962 with Five Klee-Pictures for orchestra,
  • Edison Denissow 1985 with three pictures by Paul Klee for six players ( Diana im Herbstwind - Senecio - child on the outside staircase ),
  • Walter Steffens 1991 with four watercolors after Paul Klee op.63 for recorder (s),
  • Tan Dun 1992 with Death and fire , Dialogue with Paul Klee for orchestra,
  • Jean-Luc Darbellay 1996 with A Garden for Orpheus for six instruments,
  • Jörg-Peter Mittmann 1997 with pictures of the south for seven players (garden in the Orient - lagoon city - houses by the sea),
  • Michael Denhoff 1998 with main and secondary paths for strings and piano,
  • the Groupe Lacroix (1992, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002); Among other things, the watercolor Hat Kopf, Hand, Fuss und Herz from 1930 gave rise to the composition How the Klee became four-leaved as well as Angelus Novus and Hauptweg and Nebenwege , recorded at Creative Works Records under the title 8 Pieces on Paul Klee by the Ensemble Sortisatio in February and March 2002 in Leipzig and in August 2002 in Lucerne ,
  • The Icelandic singer, actor and composer Egill Ólafsson in 2001 with his solo album Angelus Novus ; both the entire album and the title song of the same name refer to the work of Paul Klee,
  • Iris Szeghy 2005 with Ad parnassum for strings,
  • Ludger Stühlmeyer 2019 with a fantasy for organ ( Super flumina Babylonis ) about Klee's watercolor An den Wassern zu Babel .

Klee's edited diaries

Klee's biographer Susanna Partsch points out that Klee had edited his diaries accordingly in order to obtain a positive image from the public. The saying on his tombstone "I am not graspable on this side", which he saw as his program, characterizes the artist Klee as he wanted to be seen. 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 was published in 1954, described Klee without critical distance and discussed the text with the artist. It was not until the mid-1970s that Jürgen Glaesemer and Christian Geelhaar initiated a new phase in Klee research and thus enabled an objective view of the painter. The art historian Otto Karl Werckmeister , who lives in the USA , then gave the new research a basis in several essays and a book, including Klee's social and political environment. A critical edition of the diaries, published by Wolfgang Kersten in 1988, complemented the new perspective. Further studies arose that analyzed Klee's late work under the diagnosis of his disease scleroderma .

"Paul Klee meets Joseph Beuys"

In 2000, Moyland Castle on the Lower Rhine showed the exhibition “Paul Klee meets Joseph Beuys . A scrap of community ”. It was repeated in a slightly modified form in the spring of 2002 in the Kurpfälzisches Museum in Heidelberg . The curators juxtaposed selected works by Beuys and Klee. A scrap of community - based on the title of a work by Paul Klee from 1932 - referred to the exhibition concept, which also emphasized the artistic proximity of the two artists in the title. Klee and Beuys (1921–1986) never met, but the exhibition was intended to show the direct relationship between selected Beuys' drawings and works by Klee. Both artists dealt, each in their own way, with themes of the plant and the spiral growth in the animal and plant kingdom. The holistic view of the essence of nature was also similar, and Beuys was surprised to find that Klee had already worked in a similar way to him in 1904.

When Beuys was building show your wound in the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in 1979 , a large exhibition on Paul Klee's early work was also taking place on the ground floor, which included works from the period from the early children's drawings to 1922. Armin Second reports that Beuys walked from page to page with great patience for several hours and took out his glasses for a few pages in order to take a closer look, even though everyone was waiting for him upstairs. However, when the Candide illustrations fell into his field of vision, his interest waned and he mumbled something like "A yes, now the clover knows how to go on, now it's no longer interesting to me."

"Klee and America"

Under the title Klee and America , a traveling exhibition took place from 2006 to the beginning of 2007, which started in March 2006 in the "Neue Galerie" in New York, from June in the "Phillipps Collection" in Washington, DC and from October to mid-January 2007 was continued in the "Menil Collection" in Houston . It comprised over 60 exhibited works on loan from private and government collectors in America and abroad. The exhibition was reminiscent of the enthusiastic reception of Klee's work in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s - he himself had never been to the USA - when his work was ostracized in Germany as “ degenerate art ” and numerous pieces from German collections were included in the USA were sold. The curator of the exhibition, Josef Helfenstein, pointed out that Klee's influence on American art has not yet been fully investigated and that this exhibition aims to add an influential but often forgotten chapter to the history of modern art. Klee influenced the young American artists who wanted to free themselves from the geometric, abstract style and from surrealism. Klee's cryptic symbols, the possibilities he showed with regard to every type of composition and every conceivable formal question, had shown the young generation of abstract expressionists in the 1940s and 1950s a liberating path. The previously rarely or never exhibited works came mainly from American collectors, including such well-known personalities as Katherine Dreier and Walter and Louise Arensberg , from artists such as Alexander Calder , Mark Tobey or Andy Warhol , the writer Ernest Hemingway and the architects Walter Gropius and Philip Johnson . The works on display included, for example, the Twitter machine from 1922.

"Klee meets Picasso"

Hommage à Picasso , 1914, oil on cardboard, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern

To mark the five-year existence of the Paul Klee Center, a special exhibition with around 180 exhibits took place in Bern from June to September 2010: “Klee meets Picasso”, which establishes the relationship between the two antipodes , who are almost the same age . Both artists have broken with artistic traditions in a similarly radical manner. They had only met 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 without comment. The confrontation with Picasso was characterized by fascination on the one hand and resistance on the other; it left traces in Klee's work and flowed into his writings on art. His painting Hommage à Picasso from 1914, painted in the typically small format, took up the style of the new art movement of Cubism . It was created after Klee had seen his first Picasso pictures at the Bernese collector Hermann Rupf shortly before . In Klee's oeuvre it is the only work dedicated to another artist. In an article in the Swiss magazine Die Alpen , he praised cubism as the art direction 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 have to defend himself more strongly against the unloved role model. Some of the drawings that Klee created after Picasso's visit to Bern are - psychologically interesting - recognizable as parodies of the competitors. While the lively Picasso Minotaur motifs painted the Bacchante scene with Minotaur in 1933 , Klee turned the mighty bull into an "Urch", a rather peaceful, clumsy creature. The word is made up 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” aims at Klee's stern demeanor, while “Blaise” stands for Blaise Pascal ; Picasso, as a powerful man, was referring to the spiritual in Klee.

Klee and Japonism

Untitled (two fish, two fishhooks, two worms) , 1901, pen and watercolor on cardboard, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern

In 2013 an exhibition at the Zentrum Paul Klee first referred to Paul Klee's preoccupation with East Asian art. It ran until May 12th under the title From Japonism to Zen. Paul Klee and the Far East . The Japonismus was popular in the second half of the 19th century in Europe and especially in France, reaching 20 to 30 years later Germany. Under this influence, Klee created some works between 1900 and 1908 in which the influences of Japanese woodblock prints ( Ukiyo-e ) are visible, continued these later, and from 1933 onwards he dealt with Zen Buddhism and calligraphy . Before the Second World War, Klee's work was regarded as a cultural mediator between Japanese tradition and western modernity in Japan and became very well known in the post-war period.

Archives, museums and schools related to Klee

The "Paul Klee Archive" of the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena has housed an extensive collection on Paul Klee since 1995 within the art history seminar set up by Franz-Joachim Verspohl . It includes the private library of the book collector Rolf Sauerwein, which has been compiled over more than thirty years, with almost 700 titles, consisting of monographs on Klee, exhibition catalogs, extensive secondary literature as well as originally illustrated editions, a postcard and a signed photo portrait of Klee.

Paul Klee Center, Bern

In June 2005, the Paul Klee Center for Culture and Museum, planned by the architect Renzo Piano , opened in Bern. From the world's largest collection of around 4,000 works, around 150 works are presented every six months in changing exhibitions. The extensive collection makes it impossible to show all works at once. Because of their sensitivity, which is based on the artist's technically adventurous working method, Klee's works also require periods of rest. For example, he had used extremely light-sensitive inks, inks and papers which, if they were too long in the exhibition rooms, would fade or change, or the papers would brown and become brittle.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art houses the extensive Klee collection by Carl Djerassi . Also 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 .

Exhibitions (selection)

Solo exhibitions and retrospectives

  • 1920: Paul Klee , Kunstverein Jena , Jena
  • 1920: Paul Klee , 60th exhibition, Galerie Neue Kunst Hans Goltz , Munich (retrospective)
  • 1923: Paul Klee, National Gallery Berlin , Gallery of the Living , Kronprinzenpalais , Berlin
  • 1924: Paul Klee , 16th Exhibition of Modern Art, Galleries of the Société Anonyme Inc. , New York
  • 1924: Prinzessinnenschlösschen, Kunstverein Jena, Jena
  • 1925: 39 aquarelles de Paul Klee , Galerie Vavin-Raspail, Paris
  • 1925: Paul Klee , Erfurt Art Association
  • 1926: 100 watercolors by Paul Klee , Galerie Neue Kunst Fides , Dresden
  • 1928: Paul Klee , Alfred Flechtheim Gallery , Berlin
  • 1929: Paul Klee , Alfred Flechtheim Gallery, Berlin
  • 1929: Paul Klee , watercolors, Erfurter Kunstverein
  • 1930: Paul Klee , Museum of Modern Art , New York
  • 1930: Paul Klee , watercolors, drawings and graphics from 25 years, Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Düsseldorf
  • 1930: Paul Klee on his 50th birthday. Watercolors from the years 1920–1929 , Galerie Neue Kunst Fides, Dresden
  • 1931: Paul Klee , Art Association for the Rhineland and Westphalia, organized in conjunction with the Alfred Flechtheim Gallery, Düsseldorf
  • 1931: Paul Klee , New Pictures and Watercolors, Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Berlin
  • 1935: Paul Klee , Kunsthalle Bern , Bern (retrospective)
  • 1940: (from February 16) retrospective of Klee's late work at the Kunsthaus Zurich , still planned by the artist
  • 1940: Paul Klee memorial exhibition. New Works , Kunsthalle Bern, Bern; Paul Klee , Buchholz Gallery, Willard Gallery, New York; Paul Klee memorial exhibition 1979–1940 , ETH Zurich , graphic collection
  • 1941: Paul Klee Memorial Exhibition , Kunsthalle Basel , Basel; Paul Klee. Memorial Exhibition , Museum of Modern Art , New York
  • 1974: Galerie Roswitha Haftmann Modern Art, Zurich
  • 1979: Paul Klee. The work of the years 1919–1933. Paintings, hand drawings, prints , Kunsthalle Köln, Cologne
  • 1979/80: Paul Klee - Das Frühwerk 1883–1922 , Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus and Kunstbau, Munich
  • 1984/85: Paul Klee. Paintings, colored sheets, drawings, graphics from the Kunstmuseum Bern , Paul Klee Foundation and Bern private property, Albertinum , Dresden
  • 1987/88: Paul Klee , Museum of Modern Art, New York, Cleveland Museum of Art , Cleveland, Kunsthalle Bern, Bern
  • 1989: Paul Klee. The Berggruen Collection , Metropolitan Museum of Art , New York
  • 1990: Paul Klee. Late work , Württembergischer Kunstverein , Stuttgart
  • 1995: Paul Klee - under the sign of division , North Rhine-Westphalia Art Collection , Düsseldorf
  • 1996: Paul Klee. Dreaming pictures , Kunsthalle Mannheim , Mannheim
  • 1999: Paul Klee in Jena 1924. The exhibition , Stadtmuseum Göhre , Jena
  • 2000: Paul Klee - the Bürgi Collection , Kunstmuseum Bern , Bern; Hamburger Kunsthalle , Hamburg; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art , Edinburgh
  • 2003: Paul Klee in the Rhineland , Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany , Bonn
  • 2003/04: Paul Klee 1933 , Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus , Munich; Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern; Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt , Frankfurt am Main; Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg
  • 2003/04: Paul Klee - teacher at the Bauhaus , Kunsthalle Bremen , Bremen
  • 2003/04: Paul Klee - Death and Fire - The fulfillment in the late work , Sprengel Museum Hannover , Hannover
  • 2006/07: Paul Klee - Not a day without a line , Museum Ludwig , Cologne
  • 2008/09: Paul Klee - Movement in the Atelier , Zentrum Paul Klee , Bern
  • 2008/09: The Klee Universe - the cult of the artist , Neue Nationalgalerie , Berlin
  • 2010/11: Paul Klee. Graphics , Pablo Picasso Graphics Museum , Münster
  • 2012: Klee en Cobra. Het started as a child , Cobra Museum , Amstelveen
  • 2012/13: 100 × Paul Klee. History of Pictures , K 21 in the Ständehaus , Düsseldorf
  • 2013: From Japonism to Zen. Paul Klee and the Far East , Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern
  • 2013/14: Paul Klee. The Myth of Flying , H2 - Center for Contemporary Art , Augsburg, November 23, 2013 to February 23, 2014
  • 2013/14: Paul Klee - Making Visible , Tate Modern , London, October 16, 2013 to March 9, 2014
  • 2013/14: Special presentation: Les Klee du paradis. Paul Klee in the collections of the Nationalgalerie , Scharf-Gerstenberg Collection , Berlin, December 5, 2013 to August 31, 2014
  • 2015: Paul Klee - special class not for sale , Museum of Fine Arts , Leipzig, March 1, 2015 to May 25, 2015
  • 2015/16: Klee in Bern , Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, February 14, 2015 to January 12, 2016.
  • 2016: Paul Klee. L'ironie à l'oeuvre , thematic retrospective at the Center Pompidou , Paris, April 6 to August 1, 2016
  • 2017: Paul Klee. Poets and thinkers , Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, January 20 to November 26, 2017
  • 2017/18: Klee, Fondation Beyeler , October 1, 2017 to January 21, 2018
  • 2018: Paul Klee, Construction of the Secret , March 1 to June 10, 2018, Pinakothek der Moderne , Munich
  • 2018/19: Paul Klee. Animals , Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, October 19, 2018 to March 17, 2019
  • 2020: Paul Klee in North Africa. 1914 Tunisia | Egypt 1928. Museum Berggruen , Berlin, March 3 to June 1, 2020

Group exhibitions

Selected Works

Port picture at night , 1917, gouache and oil on paper, Musée d'Art moderne et contemporain de la Ville de Strasbourg
Adventures of a Young Woman , 1921, watercolor on paper, Tate Modern, London
Diana , 1931, oil on canvas, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen near Basel
O! the rumors! 1939, tempera and oil on jute, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen near Basel
  • 1903: Invention 3: Jungfrau im Baum / Jungfrau (dreaming) , etching on zinc, 23.7 × 29.7 cm, Museum of Modern Art , New York
  • 1907: Nude, exotic dancing with 2 plants , pencil on paper on cardboard, 13.5 × 5.7 cm, Paul Klee Foundation, Kunstmuseum Bern , Bern
  • 1912: Mating in the air , pen, ink on Ingres paper on cardboard, 7.5 × 16.4 cm, Paul Klee Foundation, Bern Art Museum, Bern
  • 1914 at the gates of Kairuan , watercolor on paper on cardboard, 20.7 × 31.5 cm, Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern
  • 1914 in style v. Kairouan, transferred to the moderate , watercolor and pencil on paper, the bottom edge strips with pen, on cardboard, 12.3 × 19.5 cm, Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern
  • 1914: Memory of a garden , watercolor and pencil on paper on cardboard, 25.2 × 21.5 cm, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen , Düsseldorf
  • 1914: Hommage à Picasso , oil paint on cardboard, 38 × 30 cm, Zentrum Paul Klee , Bern
  • 1914: Kleinwelt , etching on zinc, 14.3 × 9.6 cm, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung , Munich
  • 1915: Plant love, pen, ink on Ingres paper, 14.7 × 17.2 cm, Sprengel Museum , Hanover
  • 1915: Föhn in Marc'schen Garten , watercolor on paper glued to cardboard, 20 × 15 cm, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus , Munich
  • 1917: Sky blossoms over the yellow house , watercolor on airplane canvas, 23 × 15 cm, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin , Nationalgalerie, Museum Berggruen
  • 1918: Flower myth , watercolor on chalk primer on gauze on newspaper on silver bronze paper on cardboard, 29 × 15.8 cm, Sprengel Museum , Hanover
  • 1918: Once escaped from the gray of the night ... , watercolor, pen and pencil on paper, cut up and recombined with silver paper, edged with pen, on cardboard, 22.6 × 15.8 cm, Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern
  • 1919: Villa R , oil on cardboard, 26.5 × 22.0 cm, Kunstmuseum Basel , Basel
  • 1919: Swamp legend , oil on cardboard, 47 × 41 cm, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich
  • 1920: Angelus Novus . Oil pause and watercolor on paper mounted on cardboard, 31.8 × 24.2 cm, Israel Museum , Jerusalem
  • 1921: Hoffmannesque scene . Color lithograph, 31.8 × 22.7 cm
  • 1922: Senecio (Baldgreis) , oil on chalk primer on gauze on cardboard, 40.3 × 37.4 cm, Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel
  • 1922: Tanze Du Ungeheuer to my gentle song , watercolor and oil on gauze , edged with watercolor on paper, 40 × 29.2 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum , New York
  • 1922: The Twitter machine , oil break and watercolor on paper, framed with watercolor and pen, on cardboard, 41.3 × 30.5 cm, Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • 1924: old love song , gouache, watercolor and pen on paper on cardboard, 26.7 × 35.2 cm, private collection
  • 1925: the goldfish . Oil paint and watercolor on paper on cardboard, 49.6 × 69.2 cm, Hamburger Kunsthalle , Hamburg
  • 1926: Cave flowers , watercolor and glue paint on paper on cardboard, 36.4 × 53.7 cm, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart , Etta and Otto Stangl Collection
  • 1928: Cat and Bird , oil on canvas, 38.8 × 53.4 cm, Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • 1929: Necropolis , oil on plywood covered with nettle cloth, 38 × 25 cm, Museum Berggruen, Berlin
  • 1929: Fire in the evening , oil on cardboard, 33.8 × 33.3 cm, Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • 1929: Main path and secondary paths , oil on canvas, 83.7 × 67.5 cm, Museum Ludwig , Cologne
  • 1930: Has head, hand, foot and heart , watercolor and pen on cotton on cardboard, 40.8 × 28.2 cm, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf
  • 1930: Guarded animals , paste paint on paper, on cardboard, 46 × 60 cm, CR 5176
  • 1932: Ad Parnassum , oil and casein on canvas, 100 × 126 cm, Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern
  • 1932: A scrap of community , 26.5 × 40.0 cm, private property Fig.
  • 1933: struck from the list , oil paint on paper, 31.5 × 24 cm, Paul Klee Center, Bern Fig.
  • 1934; The One Who Understandings , oil and plaster on canvas, 54 × 40.6 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art , New York
  • 1936: The Gate to the Deep , pen and watercolor, varnished, on cotton on cardboard, 24 × 79 cm, private collection, Switzerland
  • 1937: Revolution of the Viaduct , oil on cotton on a stretcher, 60 × 50 cm, Kunsthalle Hamburg
  • 1938 Insula dulcamara , oil and paste paint on newspaper on jute on a stretcher frame, 88 × 176 cm, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern
  • 1939: O! the rumors! Tempera and oil on jute, 75.5 × 55 cm, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen near Basel
  • 1939: Angel, still groping , watercolor on paper, 29.4 × 20.8 cm, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern
  • 1939/40 Untitled (last still life) , 100 × 80.5 cm, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern


  • The legend of the Nile - Paul Klee in Egypt. Film by Rüdiger Sünner (1991), DVD, Absolut Medien , 2009.
  • Paul Klee - The blue embers. Documentation, 45 min. Film by Birgitta Ashoff, production: BR-alpha , first broadcast: April 11, 2004, with Renzo Piano (architect of the Paul Klee Center in Bern), Pierre Boulez , Heinz Berggruen and Ernst Beyeler .
  • Paul Klee. The angel's silence. Documentary, France 2005, 52 min. Film by Michael Gaumnitz, first broadcast: June 17, 2005.
  • The Tunis trip. In the footsteps of Paul Klee. Documentation, 76 min. Film by Bruno Moll , Switzerland 2007.
  • Paul Klee: In the light of Kairouan. A journey through time in pictures 1900–1920. Film essay by Bernt Engelmann and Gisela Wunderlich, 90 min., Munich 2014.


sorted by year of publication

Title to Pedagogical Sketchbook , English edition of the Pedagogical Sketchbook , 1925
  • Creative denomination. In: Tribune of Art and Time. A font collection. Edited by Kasimir Edschmid . Reiss, Berlin 1920. WikiMedia Commons (PDF)
  • Paul Klee: Color as a science. In: The work. Announcements from the German Werkbund. Volume 1, Berlin / Munich 1920, color special, p. 8.
  • Ways of studying nature. In: Staatliches Bauhaus 1919–1923. Bauhaus Verlag, Weimar 1923, pp. 24–25.
  • Exact attempts in the field of art. In: Bauhaus Zeitschrift für Gestaltung 1. 1928
  • About modern art . Lecture on the exhibition at the Kunstverein Jena in 1924, first published by Benteli Verlag , Bern-Bümplitz 1945; Palm & Enke, Erlangen 1995, ISBN 3-7896-0550-6 , also in Spiller I, p. 81 ff.
  • Educational sketchbook . First edition as Bauhaus Book 2 in 1925, new edition Gebr. Mann, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-7861-1458-7 .
  • The pictorial thinking . Ed. U. edit by Jürg Spiller, Schwabe, Basel / Stuttgart 1971.
  • Infinite natural history . Ed. U. edit by Jürg Spiller. Schwabe, Basel / Stuttgart 1971.
  • Writings, reviews and essays . Edited by Christian Geelhaar. Cologne, 1976.
  • Contributions to visual form theory . Facsimile edition. Basel / Stuttgart, 1979.
  • Poems . Edited by Felix Klee. Arche, Zurich 2005 (2nd edition), ISBN 3-7160-1650-0 .
Diaries and letters

sorted by year of publication

  • Paul Klee's diaries 1898–1918 . Edited by Felix Klee. DuMont, Cologne 1957, 1979.
  • Paul Klee Diaries 1898–1918 . Text-critical new edition, ed. Paul Klee Foundation, arr. Wolfgang Kersten. Stuttgart 1988.
  • Paul Klee Diaries 1898–1918 . Edited by Felix Klee. Dumont Buchverlag, Cologne 2006, ISBN 3-8321-7705-1 .
  • Diaries 1898–1918 and texts . New edition, ed. by Felix Klee and Alexander Klee . Dumont Literature and Art Publishing House, 2007, ISBN 978-3-8321-7775-1 .
  • “In close friendship”: Alexej Jawlensky, Paul and Lily Klee, Marianne Werefkin; the correspondence . Edited by Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, and by Stefan Frey. Zurich 2013, ISBN 978-3-909252-14-5 .


Contemporary publications

sorted by year of publication

  • Leopold Zahn : Paul Klee. Life / work / spirit. Gustav Kiepenheuer Verlag, Potsdam, 1920. (online at )
  • Wilhelm Hausenstein : Kairuan. or a story about the painter Klee and the art of this age. With 45 illustrations and pictures in the text. Kurt Wolff Verlag, Munich, 1921.
  • Will Grohmann : Paul Klee. 1923-1924. In: The Cicerone 16. 1924.
  • Will Grohmann: Paul Klee and tradition. In: Bauhaus. Design magazine Dessau. 1931.
Book illustrations

sorted by year of publication

Catalog raisonné
Representations and catalogs

in alphabetical order by authors / editors

About scleroderma and Klee's work

in alphabetical order by authors / editors

  • B. Ostendorf, B. Maiburg, M. Schneider: Scleroderma and Paul Klee: Metamorphosis of Life and Art? In: Journal of Rheumatology. Springer publishing house, Berlin / Heidelberg 2004, ISSN  0340-1855 .
  • Hans Suter: Paul Klee and his illness . Stämpfli, Bern 2006, ISBN 3-7272-1106-7 .
  • Christophe Badoux : Klee. Edition Moderne, Zurich 2008, ISBN 978-3-03731-029-8 The comic artist Christophe Badoux has created a non-fiction comic on the life and work of Paul Klee on behalf of and in collaboration with the Zentrum Paul Klee.
radio play
  • Nadja Schöning: Genesis - visual polyphony , radio play about the Bauhaus teacher Paul Klee. Deutschlandfunk Kultur, March 10, 2019

Postage stamps

1979 postage stamp: Paul Klee's Vogelgarten
  • On November 14, 1979 for the 100th birthday, the Deutsche Bundespost issued a special postage stamp with a face value of 90 Pfennig, which shows Klee's watercolor Vogelgarten (1924). The design comes from HP Schall.
  • On December 3, 2015, on the occasion of the 75th year of death, Deutsche Post AG issued a special postage stamp with a face value of 240 euro cents, showing Klee's painting Himmelsblüten above the yellow house (1917). The design comes from Sibylle Haase and Fritz Haase.

Web links

Commons : Paul Klee  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Paul Klee  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Klee died shortly before the decision on his requested Swiss citizenship , cf. A Bernese but not a Swiss artist ,, April 21, 2005, accessed on April 15, 2011.
  2. Diether Rudloff: Unfinished Creation. Artist in the twentieth century . Urachhaus, Stuttgart 1982, p. 65.
  3. Beate Ofczarek, Stefan Frey: Chronology of a friendship. In: Michael Baumgartner, Cathrin Klingsöhr-Leroy, Katja Schneider (Eds.): Franz Marc. Paul Klee. Dialogue in pictures . Wädenswil 2010, p. 199.
  4. Giedion-Welcker, pp. 10/11.
  5. ^ Christian Rümelin: Paul Klee. Life and work . Verlag C. H. Beck, Munich 2004, p. 118.
  6. Susanna Partsch: Klee. P. 8 f.
  7. ^ Susanne Kaufmann: The “Sema Artists' Association” . (PDF, p. 16); Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  8. Paul Klee and the Far East .; Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  9. a b Beate Ofczarek, Stefan Frey: Chronology of a friendship. In: Michael Baumgartner, Cathrin Klingsöhr-Leroy, Katja Schneider (Eds.): Franz Marc. Paul Klee. Dialogue in pictures. P. 200 f.
  10. Diether Rudloff, Stuttgart 1982, p. 65 f.
  11. ^ Biography of Paul Klee. Klee Zentrum Bern, accessed on March 1, 2010 .
  12. a b Thomas Kain, Mona Meister, Franz-Joachim Verspohl (ed.), Jena 1999, p. 88.
  13. ^ A b Christian Rümelin: Paul Klee. Life and work . Munich 2004, p. 12 ff.,
  14. Christoph Vitali (Ed.): Ernste Spiele. The Spirit of Romanticism in German Art 1770–1990. Haus der Kunst Munich, February 4 to May 1, 1995, Oktagon Verlag, Stuttgart 1995, p. 651.
  15. a b Beate Ofczarek, Stefan Frey: Chronology of a friendship. In: Michael Baumgartner, Cathrin Klingsöhr-Leroy, Katja Schneider (Eds.), P. 203.
  16. Beate Ofczarek, Stefan Frey: Chronology of a friendship. In: Michael Baumgartner, Cathrin Klingsöhr-Leroy, Katja Schneider (Eds.), P. 207.
  17. Thomas Kain, Mona Meister, Franz-Joachim Verspohl (Ed.), Jena 1999, p. 90.
  18. Göttler: The Blue Rider. P. 118.
  19. Dietmar Elger: Expressionism . Taschen 1988, ISBN 3-8228-0093-7 , p. 141.
  20. ^ Catalog raisonné, Volume 1, 1998, p. 512; Thomas Kain, Mona Meister, Franz-Joachim Verspohl (ed.): Paul Klee in Jena 1924. The lecture. Minerva . Jenaer Schriften zur Kunstgeschichte, Volume 10, Art History Seminar, Jenoptik AG, Druckhaus Gera, Jena 1999, p. 92.
  21. Beate Ofczarek, Stefan Frey: Chronology of a friendship. In: Michael Baumgartner, Cathrin Klingsöhr-Leroy, Katja Schneider (Eds.), P. 209.
  22. The Alps. 1912/13, Vol. VII, H. 4 Dec. 1912, quoted in n. Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf (ed.): Insights. The 20th century in the North Rhine-Westphalia Art Collection, Düsseldorf . Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern-Ruit 2000, p. 516.
  23. ^ Christian Rümelin: Paul Klee. Life and work. Munich 2004, p. 27.
  24. Partsch: Klee. P. 24 f.
  25. ^ Louis Moilliet: Kairouan , 1914 (illustration); Retrieved January 14, 2011.
  26. ^ Giedion-Welcker: Klee. P. 43.
  27. ^ The Tunis trip - Bern: enlightenment or staging? In: art . 2014 ( ). ( Memento from February 22, 2017 in the Internet Archive )
  28. Thomas Kain, Mona Meister, Franz-Joachim Verspohl (Ed.), Jena 1999, p. 96.
  29. See Paul Klee Diaries 1898–1918 , 1988, p. 374.
  30. a b Beate Ofczarek, Stefan Frey: Chronology of a friendship. In: Michael Baumgartner, Cathrin Klingsöhr-Leroy, Katja Schneider (eds.), P. 214 f.
  31. Partsch: Klee. P. 36.
  32. See Willi Baumeister's diary entry from July 5, 1940 on the occasion of the death of Paul Klee, in: Wolfgang Kermer (ed.): From Willi Baumeister's diaries: Memories of Otto Meyer-Amden, Adolf Hölzel, Paul Klee, Karl Konrad Düssel and Oskar Schlemmer. With additional writings and letters from Willi Baumeister . Cantz Verlag, Stuttgart 1996 ( articles on the history of the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart / edited by Wolfgang Kermer; 8), pp. 18–19; On September 7th, 1919 Paul Klee wrote to Willi Baumeister that he could “in principle not refuse an appointment [...]. […] Of course I put the main emphasis on the state position. ” Ibid., P. 100, letter in facsimile.
  33. Thomas Kain, Mona Meister, Franz-Joachim Verspohl (Ed.), Jena 1999, p. 108.
  34. Thomas Kain, Mona Meister, Franz-Joachim Verspohl (Ed.), Jena 1999, p. 111.
  35. ^ Christian Rümelin: Paul Klee. Life and work. Munich 2004, p. 119.
  36. In: The Ararat. Second special issue. Paul Klee. Catalog of the 60th exhibition of the New Art Gallery, Hans Goltz, Goltzverlag, Munich May – June 1920; Thomas Kain, Mona Meister, Franz-Joachim Verspohl (Eds.), Jena 1999, p. 125 f., P. 139.
  37. Thomas Kain, Mona Meister, Franz-Joachim Verspohl (ed.), Jena 1999, p. 136, p. 148.
  38. Partsch: Klee. P. 52.
  39. Thomas Kain, Mona Meister, Franz-Joachim Verspohl (Ed.), Jena 1999, p. 194, p. 151.
  40. Beate Ofczarek, Stefan Frey: Chronology of a friendship. In: Michael Baumgartner, Cathrin Klingsöhr-Leroy, Katja Schneider (Eds.), P. 217.
  41. ^ Volker Wahl: The addresses of the Bauhaus masters in Weimar 1919 to 1926. In: Contributions to Weimar History 2020, ed. by Axel Stefek, Weimar (friends and supporters of the Stadtmuseum Weimar im Bertuchhaus eV) 2020, pp. 21–30, here p. 25.
  42. Thomas Kain, Mona Meister, Franz-Joachim Verspohl (Ed.), Jena 1999, p. 204.
  43. Ursula Bode: Friend of the Kings . In: Die Zeit , No. 17/1998.
  44. Thomas Kain, Mona Meister, Franz-Joachim Verspohl (ed.), Jena 1999, p. 230.
  45. Uwe M. Schneede: The Art of Surrealism . CH Beck, 2006, ISBN 3-406-54683-8 , p. 89 f.
  46. ^ William Rubin : Pablo Picasso. A Retrospective, with 758 plates, 208 in color, and 181 reference illustrations , The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Thames and Hudson, London 1980, ISBN 0-500-27194-1 , p. 252.
  47. a b Thomas Kain, Mona Meister, Franz-Joachim Verspohl (Ed.), Jena 1999, p. 238.
  48. Paul Klee ,, accessed on 30 March 2018th
  49. ^ In: Paul Klee's magic garden . Published by Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern. Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern 2008, ISBN 978-3-7757-2100-4 , p. 27.
  50. Klee: Letters. P. 1074.
  51. Thomas Kain, Mona Meister, Franz-Joachim Verspohl (Ed.), Jena 1999, p. 268.
  52. Partsch: Klee. P. 52 f.
  53. ^ Christian Rümelin: Paul Klee. Life and work. Munich 2004, p. 86.
  54. Thomas Kain, Mona Meister, Franz-Joachim Verspohl (Ed.), Jena 1999, p. 290.
  55. Klee: Letters. P. 1189.
  56. cit. after: Paul Klee. In: Norbert Berghof (editor): Signs of life and personal testimonies. Edited by the State Institute for Education and Teaching, Stuttgart. Neckarverlag, Villingen-Schwenningen, undated, without ISBN, p. 44.
  57. a b Christian Geelhaar:  Klee, Paul. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 11, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1977, ISBN 3-428-00192-3 , pp. 722-727 ( digitized version ).
  58. Partsch: Klee. P. 73 f.
  59. ^ Giedion-Welcker: Paul Klee. P. 95.
  60. Thomas Kain, Mona Meister, Franz-Joachim Verspohl (Ed.), Jena 1999, p. 298 ff.
  61. ^ A b Christian Rümelin: Paul Klee. Life and work. Munich 2004, p. 121.
  62. ^ Nicole Aeby: A Bernese, but not a Swiss artist ,, April 21, 2005, accessed on January 30, 2011.
  63. ^ Paul Klee and his illness ,, accessed on January 6, 2011.
  64. Gunter Wolf: Paul Klee and Scleroderma . ( Memento of March 10, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 138 kB) January 10, 2001; Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  65. ^ Biography of Paul Klee. Art Directory, accessed September 21, 2008 .
  66. Beate Ofczarek, Stefan Frey: Chronology of a friendship. In: Michael Baumgartner, Cathrin Klingsöhr-Leroy, Katja Schneider (Eds.), P. 223.
  67. Maria Müller: "It's a slow way". John Cage and Galka Scheyer. In: Exhibition catalog Die Blaue Vier. Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Klee in the New World . Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern 1997, p. 273 ff.
  68. ^ Wulf Herzogenrath: John Cage and the artist couple Josef and Anni Albers - first thoughts on an exciting, fruitful relationship. In: Wulf Herzogenrath, Barbara Nierhoff-Wielk (Eds.): “John Cage and…” Visual artists - influences, suggestions. Cologne 2012, p. 73.
  69. Partsch: Klee. P. 82. The quote is based on Werckmeister 1987, p. 52.
  70. Carola Giedion-Welcker: Klee. P. 97.
  71. ^ Paul Klee in the Find a Grave database . Retrieved March 3, 2016. .
  72. a b Beate Ofczarek, Stefan Frey: Chronology of a friendship. In: Michael Baumgartner, Cathrin Klingsöhr-Leroy, Katja Schneider (eds.), P. 224 f.
  73. A silent patroness . In: Tages-Anzeiger , May 4, 2011.
  74. Nicole Aeby: A Bernese, but not a Swiss (April 21, 2005). In: Retrieved September 21, 2008 .
  75. ^ Paul Klee in: Wikiquote.
  76. Giedion-Welcker, p. 8.
  77. Uwe M. Schneede : The history of art in the 20th century: from the avant-garde to the present , CH Beck, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-406-48197-3 , p. 41 f.
  78. ^ Albertina, Vienna: Paul Klee in the Albertina, Vienna (July 7, 2008). Espaces Arts & Objets - Kunst, accessed September 24, 2008 .
  79. ^ Klaus Mollenhauer: Basic questions of aesthetic education . Juventa, 1995, ISBN 3-7799-1030-6 , p. 215.
  80. ^ Daniel Kupper: Paul Klee. P. 81.
  81. The numbers are based on the handwritten catalog. When asked, the Zentrum Paul Klee stated around 10,000 works based on it. Some works from the estate have not been included in his catalog raisonné. Not counted were notes for his lessons at the Bauhaus as well as illustrated correspondence or marginal drawings in school books. The numbers according to the new catalog raisonné are therefore slightly different.
  82. ^ Gregor Wedekind: Paul Klee: Inventionen . Reimer, Berlin 1996, p. 62.
  83. ^ Giedion-Welcker: Klee. P. 23 f.
  84. ^ Christian Rümelin: Paul Klee. Life and work. Munich 2004, p. 15.
  85. ^ Giedion-Welcker, Klee. Pp. 22-25.
  86. Beate Ofczarek, Stefan Frey: Chronology of a friendship. In: Michael Baumgartner, Cathrin Klingsöhr-Leroy, Katja Schneider (Eds.), Pp. 209, 216.
  87. Partsch: Klee. P. 18 ff.
  88. Art opens eyes. In: Archived from the original on January 9, 2009 ; Retrieved September 25, 2008 .
  89. Göttler: The Blue Rider. P. 118 ff.
  90. Partsch: Klee. P. 41.
  91. Art opens eyes. In: Archived from the original on January 9, 2009 ; Retrieved October 26, 2008 .
  92. The Twittering Machine ,, accessed on 10 January 2011th
  93. ^ Siglind Bruhn: The sounding museum . Gorz Verlag, 2004, p. 34 ff.
  94. Partsch: Klee. P. 67.
  95. Partsch: Klee. P. 75.
  96. Partsch: Klee. P. 92.
  97. ^ Paul Klee. Engel ( Memento from May 6, 2013 in the Internet Archive ),; Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  98. Partsch: Klee. Pp. 76-83.
  99. Thomas Kain, Mona Meister, Franz-Joachim Verspohl (Ed.), Jena 1999, p. 92 ff.
  100. ^ Ron Manheim: An "expanded art area". Paul Klee and the expressionism concept in 1912. In: Foundation Museum Schloss Moyland / Collection van der Grinten / Joseph Beuys Archive of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (Ed.): Paul Klee meets Joseph Beuys. A scrap of community. Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern 2000, p. 48 ff.
  101. Carola Giedion-Welcker ' Klee. P. 69.
  102. Giedion-Welcker, p. 64.
  103. Thomas Kain, Mona Meister, Franz-Joachim Verspohl (Ed.), Jena 1999, p. 123.
  104. Thomas Kain, Mona Meister, Franz-Joachim Verspohl (Ed.), Jena 1999, p. 128, p. 136.
  105. Carola Giedion-Welcker ' Klee. Pp. 70-76.
  106. Thomas Kain, Mona Meister, Franz-Joachim Verspohl (Ed.), Jena 1999, p. 198, p. 322.
  107. Carola Giedion-Welcker: Klee. P. 73 f.
  108. ^ Giedion-Welcker: Klee. P. 161.
  109. ^ Giedion-Welcker: Klee. P. 162.
  110. Catrin Lorch: Klee's fine little lump ghosts. (No longer available online.) In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . January 4, 2007, archived from the original on October 23, 2007 ; Retrieved October 2, 2012 .
  111. Prinzhorn Collection of the Psychiatric University Hospital Heidelberg ( Memento from November 1, 2013 in the Internet Archive ),, accessed on January 2, 2011.
  112. ^ Robert L. Herbert, Eleanor S. Apter, Elise K. Kenny (eds.): The Société Anonyme and the Dreier Bequest at Yale University. A catalog raisonée. New Haven / London 1984, p. 376, quoted from Thomas Kain, Mona Meister, Franz-Joachim Verspohl (Eds.), Jena 1999, p. 324.
  113. Beate Ofczarek, Stefan Frey: Chronology of a friendship. In: Michael Baumgartner, Cathrin Klingsöhr-Leroy, Katja Schneider (Eds.), P. 208.
  114. The twittering machine: sound symbols of the modern age. (PDF), accessed on October 3, 2008 .
  115. Partsch: Klee. P. 7 f.
  116. Paul Klee meets Joseph Beuys. Retrieved October 4, 2008 .
  117. ^ Tilman Osterwald: Klee meets Beuys. In: Foundation Museum Schloss Moyland / Van der Grinten Collection / Joseph Beuys Archive of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (ed.): Paul Klee meets Joseph Beuys. A scrap of community. Ostfildern 2000, p. 26.
  118. ^ Klee and America ,, accessed on December 30, 2010.
  119. ^ Clover and America of the Menil Collection ,, accessed December 30, 2010.
  120. Dena Shottenkirk: Klee in America ,, accessed December 30, 2010.
  121. Urs Wiedmer: Klee meets Picasso . (video) from June 5, 2010, accessed on January 7, 2011.
  122. Alice Henkes: Paul Klee meets Pablo Picasso ., June 4, 2010; Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  123. From Japonism to Zen. Paul Klee and the Far East ,, accessed February 14, 2013.
  124. RESEARCH MAGAZINE. Friedrich Schiller University Jena . Alma Mater Jenensis, summer semester 1995, p. 40.
  125. ^ Thuringian University and State Library - Branch Library Art History, accessed on April 19, 2011.
  126. Quoted from the Paul Klee Center's web link.
  128. Ludmila Vachtova. Roswitha Haftmann . P. 93.
  129. Irene Netta, Ursula Keltz: 75 years of the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus and Kunstbau Munich . Ed .: Helmut Friedel. Self-published by the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus and Kunstbau, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-88645-157-7 , p. 213 .
  130. ^ Film website , accessed November 13, 2017.
  131. Paul Klee, The Silence of the Angel. ( Memento from February 27, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) In: arte , June 15, 2005.
  132. ^ The Tunis trip - Le voyage à Tunis. In: trigon-film , accessed on January 2, 2011.
  133. Paul Klee: In the light of Kairouan. ( Memento from May 18, 2015 in the Internet Archive ); accessed on May 10, 2015.
  134. Excerpt from it in the supplement “Life data and personal testimonies”. in Neckar-Verlag 1998, pp. 44–46, see further notes on the picture Goldfisch.
  135. Excerpt from it in the 1998 supplement, as previous note, p. 46 f.
  136. Paul Klee - Himmelsblüten above the yellow house , accessed on December 11, 2015.
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on February 27, 2011 in this version .