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PAUL KLEE, auto-biography facts by his artist quotes on art, Blue + life information

PAUL KLEE (1879 – 1940), the Swiss artist / painter is depicted here in his art & life quotes, and biography facts. Klee participated as young artist in Blaue Reiter Blue Rider artist group, and painted together with Kandinsky, Gabriele Münter Alexej von Jawlensky and Marianne von Werefkin. Later Klee and Kandinsky became art teacher at the Bauhaus (in the same years Josef Albers was teaching there).
* At the bottom more biography facts, life story & art links for Paul Klee.

PAUL KLEE
quotes on art & life
+ biography facts

editor / artist:
Fons Heijnsbroek

Paul Klee: ‘Museales Stilleben /Museal Still life’, gouache on paper, 1940

Paul Klee: ‘Museales Stilleben’, 1940


PAUL KLEE, biography & his quotes on life, painting, art & Bauhaus

- But by way of consolation: it is valueless to paint premature things, what counts is to be a personality, or at least to become one. The domination of life is one of the basic conditions of productive expression. For me this is surely the case; when I am depressed I am unable even to think about it – and this holds true for painting, sculpture, tragedy, or music. But I believe that pictures alone will abundantly fill out this one life… (Bern, April 1902, after traveling a year in Italy during 1901, fh)
* Paul Klee, source of his artist quotes on painting, art, Blaue Reiter, Franz Marc and Kandinsky: “Artists on Art, from the 14th – 20th centuries”, ed. Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 442 (Swiss painter, famous for his colorful paintings and graphic art, more information on life facts at the bottom)


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- I have a feeling that sooner or later I shall arrive at something legitimate, only I must begin, not with hypotheses, but with specific instances, no matter how minute. If I then succeed in distinguishing a clear structure, I get more from it than from a lofty imaginary construction. And the typical will automatically follow from a series of examples. (Bern, April 1902)
* Paul Klee, source of his artist quotes on painting, art, Blaue Reiter, Franz Marc and Kandinsky: “Artists on Art, from the 14th – 20th centuries”, ed. Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 442.


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- It is a great difficulty and great necessity to have to start with the smallest. I want to be as though new-born, knowing nothing, absolutely nothing, about Europe; ignoring poets and fashions, to be almost primitive. Then I want to do something very modest; to work out by myself a tiny, formal motive, one that my pencil; will be able to hold without any technique. One favorable moment is enough. The little thing is easily and concisely set down. It’s already done! It was a tiny but real affair, and someday, through the repetition of such small but original deeds, there will come one work upon which I can really build. (June 1902)
* Paul Klee, source of his artist quotes on painting, art, Blaue Reiter, Franz Marc and Kandinsky: “Artists on Art, from the 14th – 20th centuries”, ed. Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 442.


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- The naked body is an altogether suitable object. In art classes I have gradually learned something of it from every angle. But now I will no more project some plan of it: I will proceed so that all its essentials, even those hidden by optical perspective, will appear upon the paper. And thus a little uncontested personal property has already been discovered, a style has been created. (June 1902)
* Paul Klee, source of his artist quotes on painting, art, Blaue Reiter, Franz Marc and Kandinsky: “Artists on Art, from the 14th – 20th centuries”, ed. Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 442.


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- The main thing now is not to paint precociously but to be, or at least become, an individual. The art of mastering life is the prerequisite for all further forms of expression, whether they are paintings, sculptures, tragedies, or musical compositions.
* Paul Klee, source of his artist quotes on painting, art, Blaue Reiter, Franz Marc and Kandinsky: ‘Diary entry’, June 1902, # 441.


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- When in Italy (in 1901, fh), I learned to understand architectural monuments… …Even the dullest will understand that the obvious commensurability of parts, to each other and to the whole, corresponds to the hidden numerical proportions that exist in other artificial and natural organisms. It is clear that these figures are not cold and dead, but full of the breath of life; and the importance of measurements as an aid to study and creation becomes evident. (December 1903)
* Paul Klee, source of his artist quotes on painting, art, Blaue Reiter, Franz Marc and Kandinsky: “Artists on Art, from the 14th – 20th centuries”, ed. Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 443.


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- Formerly it frequently happened to me that when questioned regarding a picture I simply did not know what it represented. I had not seen the subject, so to say. Now I have also included the content so that I know most of the time what is represented. But this only supports my experience that what matters in the ultimate end is the abstract meaning of harmonization (note from a letter, 1903)
* Paul Klee, source of his artist quotes on painting, art, Blaue Reiter, Franz Marc and Kandinsky: “Artists on Art, from the 14th – 20th centuries”, ed. Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 443.


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- The beautiful, which is perhaps inseparable from art, is not after all tied to the subject, but to the pictorial representation. In this way and in no other does art overcome the ugly without avoiding it.
* Paul Klee, source of his artist quotes on painting, art, Blaue Reiter, Franz Marc and Kandinsky: ‘Diary entry’, December 1905, # 733.


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- Polyphonic painting is superior to music in that there, the time element becomes a spatial element. The notion of simultaneity stands out even more richly. (1917)
* Paul Klee, source of his artist quotes on painting, art, Blaue Reiter, Franz Marc and Kandinsky: “Abstract Art”, Anna Moszynska, Thames and Hudson 1990, p. 96.


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- It is interesting to observe how real the object remains, in spite of all abstractions. (mid 1920’s)
* Paul Klee, source of his artist quotes on painting, art, Blaue Reiter, Franz Marc, Bauhaus and Kandinsky: “Abstract Art”, Anna Moszynska, Thames and Hudson 1990, p. 100.


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- It is possible that a picture will move far away from Nature and yet find its way back to reality. The faculty of memory, experience at a distance produces pictorial associations. (mid 1920s)
* Paul Klee, source of his artist quotes on painting, art, Blaue Reiter, Franz Marc, Bauhaus and Kandinsky: “Abstract Art”, Anna Moszynska, Thames and Hudson 1990.


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- … the longer a line, the more of the time element it contains. Distance is time whereas a surface is apprehended more in terms of the moment.
* Paul Klee, source of his artist quotes on painting, art, Blaue Reiter, Franz Marc, Bauhaus and Kandinsky: ‘Exact Experiments in the Realm of Art’, Paul Klee, “Bauhaus Book, 1927”.


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- We (in the Bauhaus, in the same time as Kandinsky was teaching there, fh) construct and construct, and yet intuition still has its uses. Without it we can do a lot, but not everything. One may work for a long time, do different things, many things, important things, but not everything. When intuition is joined to exact research it speeds the progress of exact research… (Dessau 1929)
* Paul Klee, source of his artist quotes on painting, art, Blaue Reiter, Franz Marc, Bauhaus and Kandinsky: ‘Bauhaus prospectus 1929’; as quoted in “Artists on Art, from the 14th – 20th centuries”, ed. by Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 444.


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- What had already been done for music by the end of the eighteenth century has at last been begun for the pictorial arts. Mathematics and physics furnished the means in the form of rules to be followed and to be broken. In the beginning it is wholesome to be concerned with the functions and to disregard the finished form. Studies in algebra, in geometry, in mechanics characterize teaching directed towards the essential and the functional, in contrast to apparent. One learns to look behind the façade, to grasp the root of things. One learns to recognize the undercurrents, the antecedents of the visible. One learns to dig down, to uncover, to find the cause, to analyze. (Dessau 1929)
* Paul Klee, source of his artist quotes on painting, art, Blaue Reiter, Franz Marc, Bauhaus and Kandinsky: ‘Bauhaus prospectus 1929’; as quoted in “Artists on Art, from the 14th – 20th centuries”, ed. by Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 444.


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Paul Klee: his not sourced artist quotes by the famous painter artist

- Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible. (art statement on making visible by art, Klee)

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- I cannot be grasped in the here and now. For I reside just as much with the dead as with the unborn. Somewhat closer to the heart of creation than usual. (art statement on his stay in the dimension of death and unborn, Klee)


biography facts and information about the great artist painter Paul Klee

Klee was born on December 18, 1879, in Münchenbuchsee, near Bern, Switzerland, the second child of Hans Klee, a German music teacher, and a Swiss mother. His training as a painter began in 1898 when he studied drawing and painting in Munich for three years. By 1911, he had returned to that city, where he became involved with the German Expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), founded by Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc in 1911. Klee and Kandinsky became lifelong friends, and the support of the older painter provided much-needed encouragement. Until then, Klee had worked in relative isolation, experimenting with various styles and media, such as making caricatures and Symbolist drawings, and later producing small works on paper mainly in black and white. His work was also influenced by the Cubism of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, and the abstract translucent color planes of Robert Delaunay.

In 1914, Klee visited Tunisia. The experience was the turning point in his life and career. The limpid light of North Africa awakened his sense of color. During his stay, Klee gradually detached color from physical description and used it independently, which gave him the final needed push toward abstraction. The view of the mosque in Hammamet with Its Mosque (1914; 1984.315.4) demonstrates Klee’s path toward abstraction. By 1915, he had turned his back to nature and never again painted after the model. With abstracted forms and merry symbols, he expressed the most diverse subjects drawn from his imagination (1984.315.23), poetry, music (1984.315.36), literature (1984.315.26) , and his reaction to the world around him (1987.455.1). His subjects reveal his impish humor (1987.455.7) and his bent toward the fantastic (1987.455.16) and the meditative (1984.315.54). Always preoccupied with the ring of words, titles played a major part in his work. Whether ironic, poetic, irreverent, deadpan, flippant, or—near the end of his life—melancholic, his titles set up the perspectives from which he wanted the works to be seen.

In 1920, Walter Gropius invited Klee to join the faculty of the Bauhaus. A school of architecture and industrial design operating first in Weimar (1919–25) and then Dessau (1925–32), it also included the study of arts and crafts. Nearly half of Klee’s some 10,000 works (mainly small-scale watercolors and drawings on paper) were produced during the ten years he taught at the Bauhaus, and they vary widely. Some relate to the subject of his courses, to his preoccupation with the relationship of colors, such as Static-Dynamic Gradation, produced in 1923 (1987.455.12). In the same year, Klee painted Ventriloquist and Crier in the Moor (1984.315.35), which, with its humor and grotesque fantasy, may strike many viewers as the quintessential “Klee.”

From 1931 to December 1933, Klee taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf. When the National Socialists declared his art “degenerate” in 1933, Klee returned to his native Bern. Personal hardship and the increasing gravity of the political situation in Europe are reflected in the somber tone of his late work, as in his artwork Comedians’ Handbill. (text by Sabine Reewald

art links for more information about the famous artist painter Paul Klee

* biography-information of the artist painter Paul Klee, on Wikipedia

* many images and pictures of Paul Klee’s painting and drawing art, on Google

* quotes by the painter Paul Klee, in Dutch language