Paul Klee was one of the most unique and influential artist’s of his time period. Klee was born in Munchenbuchsee, Switzerland on the 18th of December 1879. Klee, being born in Switzerland and creating a majority of his work in Germany, was considered both a Swiss and German artist. As a child Klee was extremely interested in drawing and music. His parents pushed music in their household however the rebellious Paul viewed music of the time as “meaningless” and stuck to the path of drawing and art. Paul Klee’s artwork was heavily influenced by movements in art that included expressionism, futurism, cubism, and surrealism.
Although widely known for his physically small, abstract artwork that resembled hieroglyphic puzzles, Klee will long be remembered for his writings that were extremely valuable to the world of modern art for years to come. In 1925 Klee created one of his most famous pieces of artwork. “Fish Magic” was an oil on canvas painting now being shown in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This artwork was almost a model representation of other paintings to be done be Klee. Fish Magic was created during Klee’s time as a teacher at the Bauhaus.
The painting consists of natural objects (fish, flowers, people) arranged to look like a sacred ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic with a modern abstract twist. All the objects in this painting are extremely simple in design. In the center of the piece is a mysterious hanging clock that according to Klee: “measures the rhythms of ambient space of planets”. Fish Magic also proves Klee’s Claim that art is a “parable of creation”. This painting is a direct representation of Klee’s artistic roots in expressionism by Klee expressing his thoughts and values of art through a painting with both ancient and modern qualities.
In 1922 Klee created one of his most famous works titled “The Twittering Machine” which was an oil transfer drawing, watercolor and ink on paper artwork. This painting again is a direct form of his surrealism and expressionism. This painting combined thoughts of the newly industrialized world with the world of nature. The “twittering” from the title is the birds that sit on top of an abstract object with a sort of hand crank (the machine). As many artists of the timeframe and genre, Klee was taking events of the modern real life and displaying them through artwork in an abstract way.
Paul Klee will always be remembered as one of the world’s greatest modern artists. Not only through his inspiring artwork that was trendsetting for many generations of artists to come, but also his writings and lectures that were extremely valuable to the world of modern art laying the ground work for mastering color, style, and simplicity; Klee was truly one of the all-time greats at what he did. Klee was also one of the first artists to recognize the art of the self-taught and mentally ill. Klee said: “Only children, madmen, and savages, truly understand the in-between world of spiritual truth”.
Paul Klee and his works are a direct representation of 20th century art. Klee’s roots in Futurism, Cubism, Surrealism, and Expressionism combined with his natural gift for drawing make him truly one of the most unique abstract artists of his time. Most artists of the time were trying to break away from traditional concrete artwork, however few succeeded with such natural beauty and talent like the simplicity of Klee’s paintings. Klee’s connection to 20th century art can be summed up in one quote by the famous artist: “art does not represent the visible; rather it renders visible (the invisible)”