June 23, 2011

Paul Klee


Paul Klee was born near Bern, Switzerland. His mother was an amateur painter and his father was a professor of music. As a child, Klee showed artistic and musical talents, but he decided to become an artist and went to Munich to study at the Fine Arts Academy. His first exhibition held in Berne, in 1910, showed the influence of Van Gogh, Matisse, and Cezanne. Until 1914, Klee had worked only in black and white or in watercolors, but during that year, on a trip to Tunisia with August Macke, Klee began to see the potential use of color. He said “Color has taken hold of me’ no longer do I have to chase after it.“ His basic themes are nature and the man-made world of buildings and machines, and his works, although simple in appearance, are complicated in their inner meaning. Klee's subtly differentiated moods range from laughter to tears. He often gave his paintings witty titles are often as important as the paintings themselves, which combine an economy and precision of technique with the markings of a seemingly limitless imagination. Klee taught at the Bauhaus from 1921 to 1931 and then became professor of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf. In 1933, nine of his works were included in the degenerate art exhibition, the Nazis invaded his studio, and he was suspended from his post. Fortunately, Klee was able to take his paintings, drawings, and writings with him when he sought refuge in his native Berne, where he continued to work until his death in 1940.

Many of us may live lives in black and white. Get up, go to work, come home, go to sleep, and then repeat the same thing for days, years, on end. Do not be afraid to splash some vermillion red or cobalt blue into your picture. This society has a way of trying to beat us down, reduce us to mindless robots. Instead, lighten up your palette, and brighten your masterpiece.

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