Artist
Paul Klee
German painter

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Paul Klee
German painter
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Birth Date

1879

Death Date

1940

ldewey's picture

Contributor

Paul Klee wore many hats.

Paul Klee was born in Switzerland, but spent much of his life in Germany. He was raised by a music teacher and became an award-winning violin player as well as an artist.

During World War I, Klee served in the Prussian army and got to wear one of those helmets with the pointy spike on top, just like Bismarck. One of his jobs was to paint camouflage on airplanes. 

The Nazis weren’t a huge fan of Klee or his artwork, camouflage or not. When he was busted by a Nazi publication for being a Galician Jew, Klee claimed to be an Arab. That strategy didn’t exactly work and 17 of his paintings were subsequently showcased in the infamous “Degenerate Art” show curated by the Gestapo. Of course, once Paul Klee died and became famous, both the Germans and the Swiss considered him one of "them" even though Switzerland didn’t grant him his citizenship until 6 days after his death, DESPITE HIM BEING BORN THERE.

Klee was a known introvert but still spent a considerable amount of time in pubs enjoying wild love affairs with lower class women and artist models. With that in mind, Klee would have probably been a big fan of one of his biggest fans: Carl Djerassi, the dude who synthesized the hormone now used in birth control pills. Over his lifetime, Djerassi donated more than 200 Klee works to SFMOMA... I think we can all agree that anyone who gives us both an extensive Klee collection and baby-free sex is the ultimate champ.

mhoutzager's picture

Contributor

Born in Switzerland, but spent a lot of time in Germany as well.

Was raised by a music teacher, and became an award-winning violin player.

During World War I, he served in the Prussian army and got to wear one of those helmets with the pointy spike on top, just like Bismarck. One of his jobs was to paint camouflage on airplanes.

When he was busted by a Nazi publication as being a Galician Jew, Klee claimed to be an Arab. That did not work, and 17 of his paintings were showcased in the infamous “Degenerate Art” show curated by the Gestapo. Of course once he died and became famous, both the Germans and the Swiss considered him one of "them" (even though Switzerland didn’t grant him his citizenship until 6 days after his death).

Despite being an introvert, Klee spent much of his time in pubs enjoying wild affairs with lower class women and artist models. Obviously Klee admired Picasso for more than just his artwork.

Paul Klee felt he “was one with color” and wrote extensively on the topic in what are now known as the "Paul Klee Notebooks". These are still widely read by both art historians and students.

In 1936, Klee was diagnosed with scleroderma, a chronic systemic autoimmune disease. He died four years later.

In 2015, Carl Djerassi passed away and had donated over 200 Klee works to SFMOMA over his lifetime. You may not know Djerassi's name, but you can certainly thank him for helping you not get pregnant. Djerassi was a chemist who gave women everywhere freedom from babies by synthesizing the hormone now used in birthcontrol pills. Thanks man! 

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Paul Klee

Paul Klee (German: [paʊ̯l ˈkleː]; 18 December 1879 – 29 June 1940) was a Swiss-born artist. His highly individual style was influenced by movements in art that included Expressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism. Klee was a natural draftsman who experimented with and eventually deeply explored color theory, writing about it extensively; his lectures Writings on Form and Design Theory (Schriften zur Form und Gestaltungslehre), published in English as the Paul Klee Notebooks, are held to be as important for modern art as Leonardo da Vinci's A Treatise on Painting for the Renaissance. He and his colleague, Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, both taught at the Bauhaus school of art, design and architecture. His works reflect his dry humor and his sometimes childlike perspective, his personal moods and beliefs, and his musicality.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Paul Klee.