Born: 18 December 1879
Died: 29 June 1940
Birthplace: Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland
Best known as: Post-impressionist Swiss painter of The Twittering Machine
Paul Klee was a Swiss-German artist known for the fine lines and playful geometry in his childlike watercolors and illustrations. His mother was Swiss and his father was German, and Klee was raised in Switzerland but spent most of his adult life in Germany, where he studied art at the end of the nineteenth century. A skilled illustrator and respected teacher at the Bauhaus, Klee was part of Der Blaue Reiter, the avant-garde circle co-founded by Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky. Influenced by Cubism and drawn to the expressiveness of primitive art and children's paintings, Klee produced nearly 10,000 works in a variety of media, but is mostly known for his watercolor paintings. At the peak of his career his work was deemed "degenerate" by the Nazi party of Adolf Hitler and removed from all public exhibits. He left Germany and returned to Switzerland in 1933, but by 1935 was ill with what has since been diagnosed as scleroderma, a rare condition that hardens the skin. Despite his ill health, Klee remained creative and prolific until his untimely death in 1940. Some of his best-known works include Southern (Tunisian) Gardens (1919), The Twittering Machine (1922) and Fish Magic (1925).
Extra credit: Because of his father's nationality, Klee was considered German, despite having been born and raised in Switzerland. Despite his attempts to become a Swiss citizen, he was not granted citizenship until shortly after his death... Klee was an accomplished musician who played violin for a time with the Bern symphony orchestra... While an art professor, Klee wrote the influential textbook Pädagogisches Skizzenbuch ( Pedagogical Sketchbook).
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