Klee, Paul – Swiss Artist

Paul Klee (Swiss, 1879 to 1940)

Paul Klee was born near Bern, Switzerland in 1879 to a family of musicians. Klee himself was a gifted violinist. Although music was important to him throughout his life he moved to Germany to study art. He studied in Munich from 1898 to 1901 with Heinrich Knirr, then at the Kunstakademie under Franz von Stuck. Klee settled in Bern in 1902 and in 1906 exhibited a series of his satirical etchings at the Munich Secession. That same year he met and married Lily Stumpf and they moved to Munich. In Munich he gained exposure to Modern Art and his work was shown at the Kunstmuseum Bern in 1910 and at Moderne Galerie, Munich, in 1911. In the same year he met August Macke and Wassily Kandinsky then soon after he met Franz Marc and Alexey Jawlensky and became associated with the Blue Rider (Der Blaue Reiter) group who were the pioneers of Expressionism..

In 1914 he traveled to Tunisia with Macke and Louis Miolliet, where he had his first real understanding of color. Afterward he made a series of watercolors which remained sources of inspiration in his work for the rest of his life. In 1920, a major Klee retrospective was held at the Galerie Hans Goltz, Munich; his Schopferische Konfession was published; he was also appointed to the faculty of the Bauhaus then at the Dusseldorf Academy in 1931. He left Germany in 1933 to move back to Switzerland where he lived the remainder of his life. He died of the muscular disease sclera derma in 1940. Although he was Swiss born, much of Klee’s work was done in Munich.

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