Paul Klee, Tanzschule, 1939, 610, Bleistift auf Papier auf Karton, 20,9 x 29,7 cm, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, © VBK, Wien, 2008.

The Accomplished Violinist Who Made Paintings and Drawings

Paul Klee, Lied des Spottvogels, 1924, 66, Ölpause und Aquarell auf Papier auf Karton, 29,6/29,9 x 38,8/39,2 cm, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, © VBK, Wien, 2008.

Paul Klee, Gift, 1932, 13, Aquarell und Bleistift auf Papier auf Karton, 61,3 x 48,6 cm, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, © VBK, Wien, 2008.

Paul Klee, Zwei Tänzer, 1940, 127, Kreide auf Papier auf Karton, 29,7 x 21 cm, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, © VBK, Wien, 2008.

 

Museum der Moderne
Mönchsberg 32
+ 43.662.84.22.20-451
Salzburg
Paul Klee.
Melody/Rhythm/Dance

October 25, 2008-February 1, 2009

Melody / Rhythm / Dance is dedicated to Paul Klee’s (1879-1940) intensive involvement with music, with melody, rhythm and polyphony, as well as with dance: these topics represented central elements in his work, in terms of both content and form.

Music was fundamental to Paul Klee’s artistic life: he played violin extremely well and attended operas and concerts with great enthusiasm; he also wrote sharply-phrased, unsparing musical critiques. For a time he was undecided whether to become a painter or a musician. He characterized music in his diary as his “lover,” painting as his “goddess of the brushes, smelling of oil, and whom I only embrace because she is my wife”.

The aspect of melody is condensed, in the way it is implemented in the form of a line on a picture; the line unfolds its own “musicality” in Klee’s drawing work. The aspect of rhythm makes structural analogies evident in design processes, used in visual and musical artistic works, in the depiction of bar sequences (two-bar, three-bar, sixbar etc.) or superimposed layers of area patterns and colour patterns. This pictorial involvement with musical modes of composition finds its high-point in “multi-voiced, polyphonous” structures for pictures, which represent an invention made by the artist for his pictures.

Many of Klee’s works relate to opera, which he loved above all else. Subjects taken as source materials for works included famous characters from operas by Mozart, Rossini or Verdi, as well as a comprehensive assembly of orchestral instruments — percussion, wind, and string instruments — and their musicians.

Constructed in individual “chapters”, the exhibition cuts a broad sweep across Klee’s body of work, including topics of interest and relevance for the musical city of Salzburg, such as “Paul Klee and Mozart” and the music-related manuscripts from his “educational legacy”. One topic, taken up as an opener, is Klee’s different way of approaching music and the way it is portrayed in pictorial terms, compared to important artistic contemporaries from the realm of Bauhaus — with works from Vassily Kandinsky, Johannes Itten, Josef Matthias Hauer and others; this serves as an introduction to the principal topic itself.

The emphasis in the exhibition is on works from Zentrum Paul Klee’s collection and his estate. With about 200 exhibits, the exhibition draws together numerous works, from international collections in museums and private ownership, with a series of documents (photographs, letters etc.): these afford access to Paul Klee as a person and an insight into the artist’s theoretical involvement with the subject of music, as well as materials from Klee’s teaching work with Bauhaus, works of art in themselves. The documentary part of the exhibition takes examples from the Zentrum Paul Klee archive to illustrate the artist’s life as a practicing musician and lover of music.

In an auditorium, visitors will have the possibility to hear Paul Klee’s favourite music (sonatas from Bach and Mozart, excerpts from operas), as well as finding out Klee’s comments on the relationship between music and the visual arts.

The exhibition Paul Klee: Melody / Rhythm/ Dance takes place in the framework of a one-year temporary partnership between Bern (city and Swiss canton) and Salzburg (city and Austrian state) to mark the EURO 08 championship: as a stand-alone exhibition it is part of a three stage, ambitious presentation of an exhibition, devoted to three generations of “Bern artists”, including work from Paul Klee, Karl Geiser (“Photographs”) and Balthasar Burkhard (the latter is viewed in the international context with Naoya Hatakeyema of Japan).

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue from publishers Verlag Bibliothek der Provinz, which includes contributions of various authors associated with the Zentrum Paul Klee, on the topic of “Paul Klee and Music”. The catalogue is based on the Zentrum Paul Klee publication on “Melody and Rhythm”; it incorporates the centre’s most recent research findings and supplements these with two contributions on “Paul Klee and Mozart” and on the topic of “dance”.

Paul Klee, Paukenspieler, 1940, Kleisterfarbe auf Papier und Karton, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, © VBK, Wien, 2008.

Paul Klee, Und ach, was meinen Kummer noch viel bitterer macht ist, dass Du nicht einmal ahnen magst, wie mir ums Herz ist, 1916, 22, Aquarell und Feder auf Papier auf Karton, 7 x 24 cm, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern © VBK, Wien, 2008.

Paul Klee, pas de deux, 1935, 83, Pastell, Aquarell und Bleistift auf Papier auf Karton, 19,3 x 30,1/29,5 cm, Privatbesitz Schweiz, Depositum im Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, © VBK, Wien, 2008.

Paul Klee, Bartolo: La vendetta, oh! la vendetta!, 1921, Oil transfer drawing and watercolour on paper on cardboard, 24,4 x 31,2 cm, Privatbesitz, Schweiz.

The World-View and Ubiquitous Nature of Paul Klee's Theater

Paul Klee, Springer, 1930, Watercolour and pen on cotton on plywood; original frame, 51 x 53 cm, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, Schenkung Livia Klee, © SABAM Belgium 2008.

Paul Klee, Ballett scene, 1931, Watercolour on paper on cardboard, 29,8/29,4 x 37,7 cm, Privatbesitz Schweiz, Depositum im Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern.

Paul Klee, Polyphon Gefasstes Weiss, 1930, Feder and Aquarell and Papier auf Karton, 33.3 x 24.5 cm.

Paul Klee, Angstausbruch III (Outbreak of fear III), 1939, Watercolour on primed paper on cardboard, 63,5 x 48,1 cm, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern.

 

Centre for Fine Arts
Rue Ravensteinstraat 23
+ 02 507 82 00
Brussels
Paul Klee, Theater here,
there and everywhere

March 1-November 11, 2008

In the latest of its monographic exhibitions devoted to major modern artists, the Centre for Fine Arts takes an unusual approach to the work of the Swiss artist Paul Klee (1879-1940), one that corresponds to the painter's own vision of the world. A devotee of the theatre, as the exhibition shows, Klee created a mental world in which, from a poetic point of view and in complete freedom, he saw — imaginatively, even ironically — the world as a vast stage, a huge set in which characters move. As a trained musician, moreover, his teaching at the Bauhaus brought visual arts face to face with the language of music.

Paul Klee (December 18, 1879-June 29, 1940) was a Swiss painter of German nationality. He was influenced by many different art styles in his work, including expressionism, cubism, and surrealism. He was a student of orientalism. He and his friend, the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, were also famous for teaching at the Bauhaus school of art and architecture.

Klee was born in Münchenbuchsee (near Bern), Switzerland, into a musical family — his father, Hans Klee, was a German music teacher at the Hofwil Teacher Seminar near Bern. Klee started young at both art and music. At age seven, he started playing the violin, and at age eight, he was given a box of chalk from his grandmother and was encouraged to draw frequently. Paul could have done either art or music as an adult; in his early years, he had wanted to be a musician, but he later decided on the visual arts during his teen years. He studied art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich with Heinrich Knirr and Franz von Stuck. After traveling to Italy and then back to Bern, he settled in Munich, where he met Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, and other avant-garde figures and became associated with Der Blaue Reiter. Here he met Bavarian pianist Lily Stumpf, whom he married; they had one son named Felix Paul.

In 1914, he visited Tunisia with August Macke and Louis Moilliet and was impressed by the quality of the light there, writing, "Colour has taken possession of me; no longer do I have to chase after it, I know that it has hold of me forever... Colour and I are one. I am a painter." Klee also visited Italy (1901), and Egypt (1928), both of which greatly influenced his art. Klee was one of Die Blaue Vier (The Blue Four), with Kandinsky, Feininger, and Jawlensky; formed in 1923, they lectured and exhibited together in the USA in 1924. Klee influenced the work of other noted artists of the early 20th century including Belgian printmaker Rene Carcan.

Klee worked with many different types of media — oil paint, watercolor, ink, and more. He often combined them into one work. He has been variously associated with expressionism, cubism and surrealism, but his pictures are difficult to classify. They often have a fragile child-like quality to them and are usually on a small scale. They frequently allude to poetry, music and dreams and sometimes include words or musical notation. The later works are distinguished by spidery hieroglyph-like symbols that he famously described with, "A line is a dot going for a walk". His better-known works include Southern (Tunisian) Gardens (1919), Ad Parnassum (1932), and Embrace (1939).

Following World War I, in which he painted camouflage on airplanes for the imperial German army, Klee taught at the Bauhaus, and from 1931 at the Düsseldorf Academy, before being denounced by the Nazi Party for producing "degenerate art" in 1933. The degenerate art exhibit catalogues had even called Klee's work "the work of a sick mind."

Composer Gunther Schuller immortalized seven works of Klee's in Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee. The studies are based on a range of works, including Alter Klang [Antique Harmonies], Abstraktes Terzett [Abstract Trio], Little Blue Devil, Twittering Machine, Arab Village, Ein unheimlicher Moment [An Eerie Moment], and Pastorale.

Another of Klee's paintings, Angelus Novus, was the object of an interpretive text by German philosopher and literary critic Walter Benjamin, who purchased the painting in 1921. In his "Theses on the Philosophy of History," Benjamin suggests that the angel depicted in the painting might be seen as representing progress in history. In 1933, Paul Klee returned to Switzerland; in 1935, he began experiencing the symptoms of what was diagnosed as scleroderma after his death. The progression of his fatal case of the disease can be followed in art he created in his last years.

He died in Muralto, Switzerland, in 1940 without having obtained Swiss citizenship. The Swiss authorities eventually accepted his request six days after his death. When Paul Klee died at age 60, he left at least 8926 works of art. The words on his tombstone say, "I belong not only to this life. I live as well with the dead, as with those not born. Nearer to the heart of creation than others, but still too far." Today, a painting by Paul Klee can sell for as much as $7.5 million. A museum dedicated to Paul Klee was built in Bern, Switzerland, by Italian architect Renzo Piano. Zentrum Paul Klee opened in June 2005 and houses a collection of about 4000 works by Paul Klee. Another substantial collection of Klee's works is owned by chemist and playwright Carl Djerassi and displayed at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Paul Klee, Semitic Beauty (Precision), 1927, Pen and pencil on paper on cardboard, 63,5 x 48,1 cm, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern.

Paul Klee, Figurine: the Fool, 1927, Oil on cardboard, 63,5 x 48,1 cm, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern.

 

Paul Klee, Leontine, 1933, Watercolour on paper on cardboard, 48,5 x 62,2 cm, Privatbesitz Schweiz, Depositum im Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern.

Paul Klee, Blue Coat, 1940,7, Oil and pigmented wax on paper, © VBK Wien, 2008, Albertina, Wien – Promised gift of the Carl Djerassi Art Trust II.

Paul Klee, Abstraction of a Motif from Hammamet, 1914, 49, Watercolour and pencil on paper on cardboard, © VBK Vienna, 2008, Albertina, On permanent loan from the Forberg Collection.

Paul Klee, Close shave, 1928, 143, Oil on board, © VBK Wien, 2008, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Albert M. Bender Collection, Albert M. Bender Bequest Fund Purchase.

Paul Klee, Blocked Lightning, 1927, 249, Watercolour and ink on board, © VBK Wien, 2008, Albertina, On permanent loan from the Batliner Collection.

 

Albertina
Albertinaplatz 1
Vienna
+ 43 1 534 83-0

Paul Klee. A Play of Forms
May 9-August 10, 2008

The starting point of the exhibition is Carl Djerassi’s important gift to the Albertina of works by Paul Klee. Additional exhibits from the holdings of the Albertina, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and other international collections and museums will show this important collection in the context of the exceptional creativity of Paul Klee.

The German-Swiss painter and graphic artist Paul Klee (1879-1940) was one of the most interesting and idiosyncratic artistic personalities of classical modern art. His fascinating oeuvre — positioned on the interface between representational and abstract art — interweaves aspects of visual reality and surreal-poetic images to form complex pictures, often with enigmatic allegorical allusions. In addition, there are works whose pictorial architecture places elementary forms of geometry and formal compositional considerations in the forefront, without losing sight of the inner poetry of the picture. Paul Klee influenced many artists — including subsequent generations of artists — especially through his teaching activities at the Bauhaus (1921-1931) and his theory of art, which he presented in a number of essays and writings.

Klee was born in Münchenbuchsee (near Bern), Switzerland, into a musical family — his father, Hans Klee, was a German music teacher at the Hofwil Teacher Seminar near Bern. Klee started young at both art and music. At age seven, he started playing the violin, and at age eight, he was given a box of chalk by his grandmother and was encouraged to draw frequently with it.[citation needed] Klee could have done either art or music as an adult; in his early years, he had wanted to be a musician, but he later decided on the visual arts during his teen years. He studied art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich with Heinrich Knirr and Franz von Stuck. After traveling to Italy and then back to Bern, he settled in Munich, where he met Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, and other avant-garde figures and became associated with Der Blaue Reiter. Here he met Bavarian pianist Lily Stumpf, whom he married; they had one son named Felix Paul.

In 1914, he visited Tunisia with August Macke and Louis Moilliet and was impressed by the quality of the light there, writing, "Colour has taken possession of me; no longer do I have to chase after it, I know that it has hold of me forever... Colour and I are one. I am a painter." Klee also visited Italy (1901), and Egypt (1928), both of which greatly influenced his art. Klee was one of Die Blaue Vier (The Blue Four), with Kandinsky, Feininger, and Jawlensky; formed in 1923, they lectured and exhibited together in the USA in 1924. Klee influenced the work of other noted artists of the early 20th century including Belgian printmaker Rene Carcan.

Klee worked with many types of media — oil, watercolor, ink, and more. He often combined them in one work. He has been associated with expressionism, cubism and surrealism, but his pictures are difficult to classify. They have a fragile child-like quality to them and are usually on a small scale. They allude to poetry, music and dreams and sometimes include words or musical notation. The later works are distinguished by spidery hieroglyph-like symbols which he famously described with, "A line is a dot going for a walk". His better-known works include Southern (Tunisian) Gardens (1919), Ad Parnassum (1932), and Embrace (1939).

Following World War I, in which he painted camouflage on airplanes for the imperial German army, Klee taught at the Bauhaus, and from 1931 at Düsseldorf Academy, before denunciation by the Nazi Party for making "degenerate art" in 1933. Even the degenerate art exhibit catalogues called Klee's work "the work of a sick mind."

Composer Gunther Schuller immortalized seven works of Klee's in his Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee. The studies are based on a range of works, including Alter Klang [Antique Harmonies], Abstraktes Terzett [Abstract Trio], Little Blue Devil, Twittering Machine, Arab Village, Ein unheimlicher Moment [An Eerie Moment], and Pastorale.

Another painting, Angelus Novus, was the object of an interpretive text by German philosopher and literary critic Walter Benjamin, who purchased the painting in 1921. In his Theses on the Philosophy of History, Benjamin suggests the angel depicted in the painting might be seen as representing progress in history. In 1933, Paul Klee returned to Switzerland; in 1935, he began experiencing symptoms of what was diagnosed as scleroderma after his death. The progress of his fatal case of the disease can be followed in the art he created in his last years.

He died in Muralto, Switzerland, in 1940 without having obtained Swiss citizenship. Swiss authorities eventually accepted his request six days after his death. When Paul Klee died at 60, he left at least 8926 works of art. The words on his tombstone say, "I belong not only to this life. I live as well with the dead, as with those not born. Nearer to the heart of creation than others, but still too far." Today, a painting by Paul Klee can sell for as much as $7.5 million.

A museum dedicated to Paul Klee was built in Bern, Switzerland, by Italian architect Renzo Piano. Zentrum Paul Klee opened June 2005 and houses a collection of about 4000 works by Klee. Another substantial collection of Klee's works is owned by chemist and playwright Carl Djerassi and displayed at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Carl Djerassi, professor of chemistry emeritus and world famous as the father of “the pill”, began compiling his Klee collection more than 30 years ago. Since the 1980s the Carl Djerassi Collection has been housed at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. More than 65 works, an important part of this remarkable collection, have now come to the Albertina — thanks to the generosity of Carl Djerassi. His collection, which focuses on Klee’s graphical works, provides extraordinary insights into the complexity of his oeuvre. The drawings, watercolours, gouaches and graphic prints extend from the early work to the powerful and monumental creations of the artist’s last years.

Paul Klee, And not ashamed, 1939, 916, Watercolour and graphite on paper, © VBK Wien, 2008, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art – fractional and promised gift of the Djerassi Art Trust.

Paul Klee, Fata Morgana at Sea, 1918, 12, Watercolour and pen on paper on cardboard, © VBK Vienna, 2008, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art – extended loan and promised gift of the Carl Djerassi Art Trust I.