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Paul Klee

Paul Klee 1879-1940

Paul Klee was a Swiss-born painter, printmaker and draughtsman. Known for his unique pictorial language and innovative teachings at the Bauhaus. Paul Klee had far-reaching influence on 20th-century modernism.

A child of two professional musicians, he was a classically taught and very accomplished, often practicing the violin as a warm-up for painting. He naturally saw analogies between music and visual art. In his lectures at the Bauhaus, he even compared the visual rhythm in drawings to the structural, percussive rhythms of a musical composition by the master of counterpoint, Johann Sebastian Bach.

He has been variously associated with Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism, and Abstraction, but his over 9000 works, are difficult to classify. He generally worked in isolation from his peers and interpreted new art trends in his own way. He was inventive in his methods and technique, working in many different media—oil paint, watercolor, ink, pastel, etching, and others. He often combined them into one work. Klee greatly admired the art of children. He challenged traditional boundaries separating writing and visual art by exploring a new expressive, and largely abstract or poetic language of pictorial symbols and signs. Arrows, letters, musical notation, ancient hieroglyphs, or a few black lines standing in for a person or object. He constantly experimented with artistic techniques and the expressive power of color, in the process often breaking traditional academic rules of painting. “Comedy is at the heart of Klee's work – from joyously splodgy lines to grotesqueries that poke fun at dictators. He loved to combat oppression with laughter.” Wrote critic, Philip Hensher .



Klee's art was very diverse, so to celebrate that instead of duplicating one particular painting we looked at a variety of styles and elements in his work. The students created mixed media collages using colored paper, watercolor pens, markets, patterns, and rulers. The results are a hybrid inspired by Klee but definitely reflect the unique personalities of the students, and that is what are is all about. It always amazes me how confident they are and how they trust their own instincts.


The class began their Klee inspired prints by doing sketches and then transferring them to paper by coating the back of the drawing with a black oil crayon stick and tracing the image with a graphite crayon. The lines of the image are thicker and have the quality of a print. They colored their pieces with watercolor pencils.



 Week One: Cave Paintings

It has been an eventful week in our Art Literacy class. We have been all around the world.  I would like to thank all of my wonderful students for their great efforts. We began with the story of the discovery of the discovery of cave paintings in Lascaux,  France  and also looked at images from  Spain , where the oldest known cave paintings have been found,  in the cave called El Castillo. The prehistoric dots and crimson hand stencils are now the world's oldest known cave art that dates more than 40,800 years old.

© Serene Greene- Art Literacy Academy
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