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Who is Paul Klee?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

Paul Klee is a Swiss artist known for his innovations in modern art painting. He taught at the famous Bauhaus school and was friends with Wassily Kandinsky. Paul Klee's experimental style went beyond any particular art movement and his explorations in color and line are well remembered.

Paul Klee was born 18 December 1879 close to Bern, Switzerland. He was a German citizen who lived in Munich, Germany for 35 years. Paul Klee's art education began at a private school in Munich and then he attended the Munich Academy to study art in the early 1900s. Although he was an accomplished violinist, Klee decided to become a visual artist rather than a musical one.

Paul Klee taught at the Bauhaus School.
Paul Klee taught at the Bauhaus School.

After marrying pianist Lili Stumpt in 1906, Paul Klee joined Munich's expressionist art group, Der Blaue Reiter, or The Blue Rider. In the early 1900s, Klee did many etchings in black and white. The etching used symbols such as letters of the alphabet and numbers. He also experimented with many different artistic techniques ranging from dark lines to mosaics.

Paul Klee was born near Bern, Switzerland in 1879.
Paul Klee was born near Bern, Switzerland in 1879.

In 1914, Paul Klee began using a lot of color in his work, having been inspired by a visit to North Africa. Klee taught art at both the Dusseldorf Academy and the Bauhaus school. Although he ended up teaching at Bauhaus for eleven years, he was fired from the Dusseldorf Academy for being a "degenerate" worker as deemed by the Nazis. Paul Klee left Germany for Switzerland in 1933.

Soon after arriving in Switzerland, Klee was diagnosed with scleroderma, a rare disease affecting skin and muscle. His scleroderma affected his artistic style since it limited his movement and his black lines became thicker and more prevalent and larger areas of color began to become a part of his works. Many of his paintings from the mid 1930s on had a dark, moody tone. Contrastingly, the last painting Klee did before his death is a visual summary of his artistic style called Still Life. Paul Klee died 29 June 1940 in Switzerland.

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Discussion Comments


@Engelbert - You can get prints in a wide range of sizes with custom sizing online relatively easy. Not too expensive, either. You can also try your local or state art gallery, some have a prints section. You could even try certain bookstores.

I'm a big fan of his as well. I think my favorite Paul Klee painting would have to be Castle and Sun; the colors and off kilter shapes which form the abstract castle and the red sun in the dark red sky, it leaves me in awe. I have a print of it in my studio.


Paul Klee is one of my favorite expressionists. I love his use of color and the wide range in his style, from geometric abstractions to abstract symbolism. I love the titles of his work as well, they're very poetic and Klee was known to be influenced by poetry and music. I'd love to have a print of Wintry Mask, but I have no idea where to get Paul Klee prints.

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    • Paul Klee taught at the Bauhaus School.
      By: ArTo
      Paul Klee taught at the Bauhaus School.
    • Paul Klee was born near Bern, Switzerland in 1879.
      By: pavalena
      Paul Klee was born near Bern, Switzerland in 1879.