Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Jekyll Island Beach 2012
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Rogue Named Klee (1879-1940)





The Rogue Speaks:

Paul Klee, who was born in Switzerland in 1879, didn't start out to become a rogue, even though he began drawing at an early age. When he was seven, he began playing the violin, and when he was eight, his grandmother gave him some sidewalk chalk. I am amazed that sidewalk chalk had even been invented back then!! In any case, Klee was equally talented in both music and art. His parents wanted him to become a musician, but when he became a teen, he rebelled! Now that sounds familiar, doesn't it? He wasn't too keen on the "modern" music of his day, and he wanted to be free to CREATE and explore new artistic styles.

Klee began keeping a diary when he was 18, so we have a lot of insight into his life and the way he perceived it. Like a lot of rebellious young people, he drew in his school-books, daydreamed, and barely passed his final exams. "After all," he wrote,"it's rather difficult to achieve the exact minimum, and it involves risks."

Well, wouldn't you know it! Like so many other artists I have written about lately, his youthful adventure revolved around pubs, and sex! He had an illegitimate son in 1900, but the boy died shortly after he was born.

Klee married Lily Stumpf, a pianist, in 1906. Lily gave piano lessons, and an occasional concert while Klee stayed home to care for their little son, and work on his drawings. As we all know, multi-tasking with a child around is not easy, and it was no different for Klee.

Klee was afraid of color in his early years. He had done mostly drawing and etching, and found using color to be somewhat intimidating. This all changed in 1914 when he was visiting Tunisia. The quality of light there seemed to transform him and he wrote, "Color has taken possession of me; no longer do I have to chase after it. I know that it has hold of me forever...Color and I are one. I am a painter."

His new-found love of color prompted him to begin painting in the pure abstract style, and his work took on a certain harmony much like a musical composition. I don't know if Klee had music playing while he created his paintings, but I certainly love to have music in the background to inspire me while I work! If only I could be as creative and expressive as Klee...

When WWI began, Klee joined the German army, but instead of fighting at the front, after some finagling by his father, he served by working as a clerk, and painting camouflage on airplanes. He still continued to exhibit his work, and by 1917, he had become one of the best new German artists.

In 1933, Paul became ill with a fatal disease, scleroderma. He still continued to work, although very slowly. In 1936, he only produced 25 paintings. Paul Klee died a painful death in Switzerland on June 29, 1940.

For me, Klee's legacy is his manipulation of color. He became a wonderful teacher, and taught the mixing of color, and his color theory to his students at the Bauhaus.

"Art does not reproduce the visible; rathert it makes visible." -Paul Klee

I hope you have enjoyed my letter "K" for Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. I am off now, to Jenny's blog to read ALL of this week's offerings. I hope you will do the same!!

24 comments:

Jingle said...

awesome take..
Happy Holidays.

Splendid Little Stars said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your post! so informative! The "achieving the exact minimum" quote is quite amusing. When I was in college, I was enthralled by Klee. So fun to read your biography and see his paintings. There IS a mathematical element to his work---the music training shining through, I suppose.

Sarah said...

I always find abstract paintings hard to 'enjoy' but his work is very interesting. Thanks for the informative post.

marisworld said...

In the first picture of his you have showcased, 'Mari' is central and caught my eye immediatly :)
Fabulous, interesting post as always. I have come to expect nothing less from you now :)
I need money to treat myself to a picture from your sidebar - they are beautiful x

bluzdude said...

I remember seeing a Klee painting (a print) when I was a very young schoolboy, and just loved it. It was nothing but squares, like a checkerboard, but they were all different colors. So I never forgot the name of the artist.

Bruce Coltin said...

Had he made peace with color earlier in his life, would he have become the artist that he was? Or was it the shock of discovery that delivered the punch?

Judie said...

Klee(pronounced Clay) was an excellent illustrator, and did many etchings. Bruce may be on to something here. I will have to ask my BFA if she knows anything about this. She is a wealth of information, but she doesn't share unless I ask.

JJ said...

I am a fan of Picasso and Dali. It seems natural for me to become a fan of Klee as well. He just fits. Thanks for the post.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

You always teach me something new. I am so impressed with all the tool you carry. Next year you need to come to Calloway Gardens and celebrate Thanksgiving with us.

Jingle said...

Thanks for the comments..
stay blessed.

Jo said...

i am loving your posts about artists ... i ran off to search out more images and i am instantly smitten with rose-garden 44 ... amazing .... but then led me to some more gazing and looking till i stumbled upon almond branches in bloom, by van gogh ... and now i am in love ... and vow to save all of my pennies till i can purchase a print ... thank you Judy!

Gattina said...

I feel like in art school again, lol ! Klee was German (his parents were German) and became Swiss later.
I don't like him very much. His paintings don't appeal to me. He also teached in Düsseldorf (Germany)

Nora Johnson said...

Love Klee - and all his works. Such an exceptional artist!Great post.

XOXO Lola:)

Mary said...

So interesting! "Color and I are one. I am a painter." ~Love that!

Sue said...

You always have something interesting for your Alphabe-Thursday, and this was no exception.

What a sad thing to suffer from Scleroderma back then. These days, there is so much that can be done for it. Very difficult, I should think. Especially for an artist trying to paint.

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Nick said...

So you're in the Klee Club?

Shafeena said...

Gosh !! how interesting !! love it !! Thanx for visiting my blog !! i hope you continue to do so...

H said...

I am not very well informed about artists, but I have seen some of the work of Klee and what I have seen, I have liked. I think I am most attracted to the colour.

CRISTINA said...

Klee was a natural draftsman who experimented with and eventually mastered color theory, and wrote extensively about it. So, since he had to strugle so much, he became an expert on color theory.

nothingprofound said...

Klee was such an intense and committed artist. What I like best about his work is the childlike quality, the playfulness.

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

T'hanks for sharing about Klee... And there really is a lot of amazing creating going on here on your blog :o)
I love your granddaughter's creative art in expressed in her poetry too.

Blessings & Aloha!
I'm still trying to get to more K posts :o)

askcherlock said...

This was quite an informative post, Judie. You provide amazing background information on these artists which we would otherwise not have.

All your photos, by the way, are so enjoyable! :)

Jenny said...

Oh Judie. Klee is one of my favorite artists. My husband does not like this style of art...he enjoys oil done in a realistic fashion.

I have several Klee posters hanging that I adore.

This was so informative and fascinating. I had an uncle suffer from scleroderma. What a horrible disease.

Thank you for this post.

A++++++++

Juliana Matthews said...

I wonder why so many of our great artists and writers led such dissolute lives? Quite sure there is some deep profound reason. Perhaps they have to experience 'extremes' to get their creativity at full throttle. Hmmm, one to ponder...