Paul Klee

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


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 school moved to Dessau in 1926, housed in a famous building designed by Gropius. It later moved to Berlin before closing in 1933 due to pressure from the Nazis.

  • Or Entartete Kunst. Term coined in the 1930s by the Nazis in Germany to ridicule modern art that didn't fit with Hitler's vision. Exhibitions of such works confiscated from German museums were staged and German artists branded with the term were banned from exhibiting their work.