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When I was about 15, I hung a reproduction of a Paul Klee painting of a head on the wall at the foot of my bed. Paul Klee shared my walls with Van Gogh reproductions and Monet reproductions but it was Klee that I saw the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. The painting seemed simple enough, even childlike, but it continued to fascinate me.

Paul Klee was born near Bern, Swizterland. His father, a German, was a musician and Klee was drawn to both art and music and, though he ultimately chose art, he played violin for a time in the Bern Symphony. Klee attended an art academy in Munich and then traveled throughout Europe where he saw the latest in art and thus was exposed to all the current art movements.

Primitive art, surrealism, expressionism, cubism, and children's art influence the work of Paul Klee but he does not belong to any one movement. He has blended all these influences into his own unique art and he is one of a kind.

At first glance Paul Klee's work seems very simple and can provoke statement like, "I could do that," or "a child could do that." But this simplicity is deceptive. Colors are layered over each other, juxtaposed, and re-arranged by sissors. Mysterious symbols, ransacked from conventional symbol systems like pictographs, diagrams, graphs, and cartoons, are yanked from their original settings to land mysteriously in a Klee work. Klee has said, "Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible." Works have whimsical titles like "Twittering Machine,""Fish Magic," and "Dance, Monster, to my Soft Song."

Klee was extremely prolific, producing over 10,000 pieces, most of them small drawings, paintings, or prints. He created new methods, often painting water colors on oil or chalk grounds applied to fabric or cardboard. He painted within oil transfer drawings applied to paper, sprayed watercolors around stencils, and combined oil and watercolor.

In 1914, Klee traveled to Tunisia where he had an almost mystical experience with the light there. "Color has seized me. I no longer need to pursue it; it has seized me forever, I know. That is the revelation of this blessed moment. Color and I are one. I am a painter."


In 1933 Klee was teaching in Munich. The Nazis came to power and his art was declared "degenerate" and he lost his position and any possibility of exhibiting his work. He left Germany for Switzerland. Klee died in 1940 of scleroderm.

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