The lasting impact of Paul Klee

“A line is a dot that went for a walk”.


Photocourtesy of © Centre Pompidou 2016

When first gazing upon the work by the Swiss-German artist Paul Klee, one is faced with a naïve expression, the association arising quite similar to one’s own attempted drawings of early childhood. The seemingly juvenile quality and childlike fragility of Paul Klee’s work render the artist’s wondrous sense of curiosity which prevails as an anchor throughout his career. Altogether with a sharp sense of humor, these personal traits are often attributed for the intense graphic zest offered in Klee’s repertoire  –  simple stick figures, moon faces, arrows, eyes, suspended fish and blankets of colour are arguably some of artist most known works. A second glance offers  a wider perspective – the viewer begins to fathom the profoundly meditative nature of Klee’s work where orchestrated simplicity achieves a mature state. Dreams, forebodings and music influenced the artist, along with his fluctuating moods and on point humor (his first attempts at art where often witty sketches acting as visual comments on the surroundings) and re-occur often as the subject as much as the idea. Throughout his career Klee has proved himself a master of all trades, his  venture spreading across several medias- watercolor,ink, oil and etching merging into a visually synchronized symbiosis on canvas. Virtuously shifting from poly-to-monochromatic Klee’s palette  was an expressionists tool used to capture the authentically liberal nature of a child’s mind. The deployment of  intense ranges of chromatic spectrum  in particular served as a contrivance  in reproducing the primitive simplicity of children’s artwork. Klee recognised and embraced the alluring relationship that exists between music and visual art; the likeness of the temporal process of creating a painting an equivalent to the transient nature of a musical performance;musical intonation equivalent  to the expressive power of colour.


Photocourtesy of © Centre Pompidou 2016
He has so much to say, that a Klee never became another Klee.

In fact Klee’s relationship to music is so significant that one could almost argue that his work resembles a musical transcription, his art and the compositions of his works are not dissimilar to written musical notes and therefore maybe more comprehensible and intelligible to those with a bigger comprehension of the auditory field. 


Photocourtesy of © Centre Pompidou 2016
Photocourtesy of © Centre Pompidou 2016

It is evident that Paul Klee has along with the likes of Kandinsky and Duchamp changed the course of twentieth century modern art, centered around relentless self-evolvement. Marchel Duchamp said of Klee in 1949 “His extreme productivity never shows evidence of repetition, as is usually the case. He has so much to say, that a Klee never became another Klee.”