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10 Paul Klee’s Works that will Fascinate You

Las obras más famosas de Paul Klee.

Paul Klee was a Swiss-born German artist. His highly personal style was influenced by artistic movements such as Expressionism, Cubism and Surrealism

Klee was a born draftsman who experimented with color theory and came to explore it in depth, writing about it extensively; his lectures Writings on the Theory of Form and Design (Schriften zur Form und Gestaltungslehre), published in English as Paul Klee Notebooks, are considered as important to modern art as Leonardo da Vinci’s Treatise on Renaissance Painting

Both he and his colleague, the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, taught at the Bauhaus school of art, design and architecture in Germany. His works reflect his dry humor and sometimes childlike outlook, his personal moods and beliefs, and his musicality.

In this article we present 10 of their best-known works

Insula Dulcamara, de Paul Klee

Insula dulcamara is an oil painting on newsprint glued to burlap made in 1938, when he was suffering from scleroderma. It is his largest work and is part of the collection of the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern.

Like much of Klee’s output, the image conveys a coded message to the viewer, asking them to reflect on the artist’s thought processes during its creation

The conventional interpretation, based on the fact that the original title of the painting was to be The Island of Calypso, is that the symbols arranged on a plain background represent a desert island with an idol and a passing steamship.

However, a more recent analysis by scholar Chris Pike suggests that the symbols represent Klee’s own identity and mortality, spelling out his name and referencing aspects of his life and interests. From the dotted sign enclosed in the center left, representing “origin,” it is possible to distinguish the letters of the word Paul

The letters of the word Klee are not so obvious, but can be determined with the imagination, especially in comparison with his written signature. The pale face of the letter P may represent his skin tone, a result of his state of health and approaching death. The red spots may represent the berries of the Solanum dulcamara (belladonna) plant mentioned in the title of the work.

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Senecio, pintado por Paul Klee.

Senecio or Head of an Aging Man is a 1922 cubist painting by Klee. It is currently housed in the Kunstmuseum Basel.

Klee’s adaptation of the human head divides an old man’s face into orange, red, yellow and white rectangles. The flat geometric squares within the circle resemble a mask or the patches of a harlequin, hence the title’s reference to the artist-performer Senecio. The triangle and curved line above the left and right eyes respectively give the illusion of a raised eyebrow.

The use of lines, ambiguous shapes and space demonstrate the principles of Klee’s art, in which simple graphic elements are “set in motion by the energy of the artist’s mind.”

Fish Magic es una pintura de Paul Klee.

Fish Magic is a surrealist painting from 1925. The painting belonged to the collection of Walter and Louise Arensberg before being donated in 1950 to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where it is currently housed.

It looks like a mixture of aquatic, celestial and terrestrial entities. The painting is covered with a delicate surface of black paint, beneath which is a dense layer of multicolored pigments. The colorful figures were scratched and scribbled by Klee on the dark background

A square of muslin was glued to the paint in the center, giving the painting the feeling of a collage. The painting’s dark palette and the fragility of the muslin create a mysterious, inky atmosphere.

According to Ann Temkin, Fish Magic is a masterpiece in which the intellectual and imaginative forces of Klee’s artistic gifts are reconciled, producing a “sense of magic.” In particular, Temkin points to the thin diagonal line extending from the right center of the canvas to the top of the clock tower, writing that the “long line painted from the side seems ready to tear away the muslin square to reveal something underneath.”

Muerte y fuego es una pintura del alemán Paul Klee.

Death and Fire, known in German as Tod und Feuer, is an expressionist painting by Paul Klee from 1940. It was one of the last before his death on June 29 of that year

In 1935, Klee began to suffer from scleroderma, which manifested itself in fatigue, skin rashes, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, and pain in the joints of the hands

The paintings of this period tended to be simpler and more representative of the suffering he endured “Tod”, the German word for death, is a common motif throughout the painting. It is mostly seen in the features of the face, although the “d” and “t” are rotated. The word can also be seen in the figure’s raised arm as the “T”, the yellow orb as the “O” and the figure’s head (or torso) as the “D”.

The painting also depicts hieroglyphs, an interest of Klee’s during this time, which can also be seen in many of his other paintings from the late 1930s, such as Insula dulcamara and Heroische Rosen. Since 2014, it has been on display at the Zentrum Paul Klee, a museum in Bern, Switzerland, dedicated to the works of Paul Klee.

Gato y pájaro, pintura realizada por Paul Klee.

Cat and Bird is a work from 1928. It was made with oil and ink on gessoed canvas mounted on wood. It is currently in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Klee was one of many modernist artists who wanted to practice what he called “the pure cultivation of the media” of painting, that is, to use line, form and color for their own sake and not to describe something visible. That priority allowed him to create images that dealt less with perception than with thought, so that the bird in this painting seems to fly not in front of the cat’s forehead, but inside it: the bird is literally in the cat’s mind

By making the cat all head, Klee concentrates on the thought, the fantasy, the appetite, the cravings of the brain. One of his goals as an artist, he said, was to “make secret visions visible.”

The cat is watchful, frightening, but also calm, and Klee’s palette is also calm, in a narrow range from tawny to pink with areas of blue-green. This and the suggestion of a childlike drawing lighten the mood

Believing that children were close to the wellsprings of creativity, Klee was fascinated by their art, and evokes it here through simple lines and shapes: ovals for the cat’s eyes and pupils (and, more loosely, for the bird’s body), triangles for its ears and nose. And at the tip of that nose is a red heart, a sign of the cat’s desire.

Twittering Machine, del artista suizo-alemán Paul Klee.

Twittering Machine (Die Zwitscher-Maschine) is a watercolor and oil transfer with ink on paper from 1922

Like other works by Klee, it combines biology and machinery, depicting a group of birds loosely drawn on a wire or branch connected to a crank

Interpretations of the work are varied: it has been perceived as a nightmarish lure for the viewer or a representation of the artist’s helplessness, but also as a triumph of nature over mechanical activities. It has been seen as a visual representation of the mechanics of sound.

Originally exhibited in Germany, the image was declared “degenerate art” by Adolf Hitler in 1933 and sold by the Nazi Party to an art dealer in 1939, from where it reached New York. It is one of the best known of Klee’s more than 9,000 works, and is among the most famous images in New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

It has inspired several musical compositions and, according to a 1987 New York Magazine profile, has been a popular piece to hang in children’s rooms.

Castillo y sol de Paul Klee.

Castle and Sun, 1928, is an abstract cityscape by Paul Klee.

The colors in this work are truly stunning, with triangles and rectangles offering an abstract form of an urban scene. This luminosity has contributed to this work becoming one of the most reproduced of all Klee’s works, along with others such as Angelus Novus and Twittering Machine

Burg und Sonne was the original title of this work, which translates directly as Castle and Sun, capturing the main points of attention in this painting. Some have misinterpreted that the sun is actually a moon, but the title of the painting makes this clear. Klee himself made several of these intricate tile scenes and they have proved to be among the most beloved by his admirers.

The creation of form through an abstract formation of geometric shapes is more reminiscent of the work of Wassily Kandinsky and other members of the Bauhaus movement. Klee is known to have aligned himself with Bauhaus artists in the early 20th century, so the similarities are to be expected. Klee’s color palette helped him maintain his artistic independence.

Flowe Myth, pintura de Paul Klee.

Flower Myth is an expressionist work by Paul Klee from 1918. It was created during Klee’s early mystical-abstract period, and contains much more than one might guess at first glance.

Against a deep red, seemingly spacey background, a floating plant grows in the center of the painting, accompanied by simple symbols of the sun, moon and stars. A bird approaches the flower opening from above. A thin silver line frames the composition.

Paul Klee did not depict objects. Instead, he used the typical symbols of plants and trees, celestial bodies and the Earth, among others. This shows that he departed from “realistic” representation. He does not deal with a specific time, date or season. Klee considered the totality of creation. The proximity of the simultaneous representation of the sketched elements-the earth, sun, moon, and stars-suggests this.

Paul Klee also did not refer to a specific plant. His interest is in plants in general: a plant that grows from a bulb; that has roots, leaves, and a bud blooms at the top, already r esembling the fruit that will be. A creature approaches to collect the pollen. It underlines the cyclical character of life and growth in the universe.

Angelus Novus es una de las pinturas más famosas de Paul Klee.

Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus is a work from 1920, showing “an angel, contemplated and fixed on an object, slowly moving away from it,” according to the buyer of the work, German philosopher Walter Benjamin.

It was Benjamin’s opinion of the work that made it especially famous, but he was not the only owner of the work. He bought it from Klee in 1921 before it passed into the hands of those close to him, Theodor W. Adorno and later Gershom Scholem.

According to several experts and philosophers, Paul Klee painted what many imagine to be the Angel of History. Klee was drafted into the German forces during World War I, which affected him deeply.

Klee’s method of painting the Angelus Novus was invented by Klee himself. His oil transfer technique (monoprint) consisted of covering a piece of tracing paper with ink, placing a piece of drawing paper underneath and scratching the upper paper with a needle or other sharp object to make a copy on the lower one.

The Angelus Novus shows a seemingly stunned angel, eyes locked in an image of despair, stuck in a flying motion that neither advances nor recedes. You don’t see many paintings like this in the world, due to the inventiveness of Klee’s new technique and also the subject from which Paul created his work.

Highway and Byways es una pintura de Paul Klee.

Highway and Byways is an oil painting on canvas. It belongs to the group of his many layered and striped paintings and was created in January 1929 after Klee’s second trip to Egypt

On loan from Werner Vowinckel, it was first exhibited at the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne and can now be seen at the Ludwig Museum, also in Cologne.

The title of the painting corresponds to its structure. In the center, runs the straight, contoured main path, divided into several parts, differentiated by color contrasts, which moves mainly between blue-orange and red-green, almost aligned with the center of the painting and narrowing in layers in its horizontal inner structure

The main road is not only a road, but also a “strip of fields splitting 45 times across the high area of the horizon striped with blue and purple”, more like a “painting of the celestial staircase of a step pyramid”

To the left and right of it, the small side roads run much more irregularly, in twisting, jumbled paths, partly ending in nothingness, partly also in the same blue-gray horizon, which also seems to give the main road its clear destination.

Antoni A

Antoni A

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