Paul Klee

Swiss / German (1879 - 1940)
Paul Klee Gespenst eines Genies [Ghost of a Genius] 1922

Biography

Born 1879
Died 1940
Nationalities Swiss
German
Birth place Münchenbuchsee
Death place Muralto

Klee was born near Berne, Switzerland and studied art in Munich. In 1912, his work was included in the second exhibition of the 'Blaue Reiter' (Blue Rider) Expressionist group. In the same year, he saw an exhibition of cubist paintings in Paris, which had a great influence on his style. Klee spent ten years as a teacher at the Bauhaus from 1921, along with Kandinsky. He was dismissed from a teaching post at the Düsseldorf Academy in 1933 by the Nazis and his work was included in the Degenerate 'Art' exhibition. A highly inventive and prolific artist, Klee produced around nine thousand pieces in his lifetime, usually working on a small scale.

Glossary terms

  • An influential German school of art and design founded in Dessau in 1919 under the architect Walter Gropius. It was based on workshop training rather than academic studios, and is celebrated for its functional design.

  • The term Degenerate Art (German: Entarte Kunst), was coined in the 1930s by the Nazis to ridicule modern art that did not fit with Hitler’s vision.  Confiscated by the German government, exhibitions of "Degenerate" artworks took place in cities including Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig. In addition to this ridicule, the Mazi's forbade artists branded with the term from exhibiting or holding teaching posts.

  • A German Expressionist group founded in Munich in 1911 by Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc. Its membership, who shared an interest in expressing a spiritual dimension in painting, featured in an almanac of the same name published in 1912. The group dispersed with the onset of the First World War.