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Paul Klee

German painter
Paul Klee, photographed in 1911 by Alexander Eliasberg - quote by Paul Klee in his Diary entry, June 1902: 'The main thing now is not to paint precociously but to be, or at least become, an individual. The art of mastering life is the prerequisite for all further forms of expression, whether they are paintings, sculptures, tragedies, or musical compositions.'

Paul Klee (December 18 1879June 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 art-teacher at the Bauhaus with Kandinsky; they exchanged their ideas on art very intensively.

Contents

Quotes of Paul KleeEdit

sorted chronologically, by date of the quotes of Paul Klee
 
Paul Klee, Nov. 1896: 'My room', pen and ink wash on paper; - quote of Paul Klee in a letter to his friend in 1903: 'The conviction that painting is the right profession grows stronger and stronger in me. Writing is the only other thing I still feel attracted to. Perhaps when I am mature I shall go back to it.'
 
Paul Klee, 1903: 'Inventionen Nr 3, Jungfrau im Baum / (Lady in the Tree', etching; location: Museum of Modern Art, New York
 
Paul Klee, 1904: 'Woman and Beast / Weib und Tier anagoria'; later! quote of Paul Klee, 1905: 'In earlier versions of 'Woman and Beast' the woman suffered too much. Later I gave her that not altogether disgusted expression. Dissertations could be written about the significance of the 'ugliness' of my figures.'
 
Paul Klee, 1905: 'Aged Phoenix (Invention 9) / Greiser Phönix (Invention 9)', etching
 
Paul Klee, 1905: 'Hero with Wings / Held mit Flügel', etching?; - quote Of Paul Klee, Dec. 1905: 'The beautiful, which is perhaps inseparable from art, is not after all tied to the subject, but to the pictorial representation. In this way and in no other does art overcome the ugly without avoiding it.'
 
Paul Klee, 1908: 'In der Loge / In the theater-box', watercolor (white color behind); - quote of Paul Klee, 1908: 'I studied the tonalities of nature by adding layer upon layer of diluted black watercolour paint. Each layer must dry well. In this way a mathematically correct scale of light and dark values is the result.'
 
Paul Klee, 1908: 'portrait of his young son de:Felix Klee, drawing in ink wash on paper, bordered with ink, mounted on cardboard - (made in Munich); - quote of Paul Klee, End of 1908: 'Looking back at the end of the year created a little more serious mood than before. To bring children in the world is no trifling matter!'
 
Paul Klee, 1910: 'Country Road to Schwabing', ink-drawing
 
Paul Klee, 1911: 'Self-portrait', ink on paper; location unknown
 
Paul Klee, 1911: 'Di 2 Facade', ink-drawing on paper
 
Paul Klee, 1912: 'Cacti / Kakteen'
 
Paul Klee, 1912: 'View onto a Square', gouache and wax crayon on paper, on cardboard
 
Paul Klee, 1912: 'View on a river', lithography on paper
 
Paul Klee, 1913: 'The trees showed their rings, the animals their veins / Die Bäume zeigten ihre Ringe, die Tiere ihre Adern', watercolor-painting on paper
 
Paul Klee, 1913: 'Leitungsstangen / electricity poles', watercolor on paper
 
Paul Klee, 1913: 'Der Hof / The Yard' (Sun in the Yard), watercolor-painting on paper
 
Paul Klee, 1913: 'Das Hotel', watercolor and ink on cardboard
 
Paul Klee, drawn by August Macke in 1914 (the year of their common Tunisia-trip)
 
Paul Klee, Tunisia, April 1914: 'Hammamet with Its Mosque', watercolor on paper
 
Paul Klee, Tunisia, April 1914: 'Kairuan', 1914.42, watercolor on paper
 
Paul Klee, Tunisia, April 1914: 'Garden in St. Germain, The European Quarter near Tunis', watercolor-painting on paper mounted on cardboard; - quote of Klee from his diary, 16 April 1014: 'Color has taken possession of me; no longer do I have to chase after it, I know that it has hold of me forever.. .Color and I are one. I am a painter.'
 
Paul Klee, 1914 (after the Tunisia-trip): 'On a Motif from Hamamet', tempera on board
 
Paul Klee, 1915: 'Föhn im Marc'schen Garten' / View in the garden of Franz Marc' - made in his Blaue Reiter-period, watercolor on paper mounted on board; location:Lenbachhaus, Munich
 
Paul Klee, 1916: 'Ships superposed in several Layers', pen on paper
 
photo of Paul Klee as soldier, 1916 World War 1. - quote of Klee, diary 1915: 'The more horrible this world (as today, for instance), the more abstract our art, whereas a happy world brings forth an art of the here and now.'
 
Paul Klee, 1917: 'With the Rainbow', watercolor on paper on cardboard; location unknown - quote of Klee, 1919: '..I thought I had come into the clear in art when for the first time I was able to apply an abstract style to nature.'
 
Paul Klee, 1920: 'Lovers', gouache and graphite on paper mounted on black paper mounted on cardboard; location: Moma New York
 
Paul Klee, 1922: 'Begrüssung Greeting', watercolor, pen and ink on paper; - quote of Paul Klee, 1925:' The father of the arrow is the thought: how do I expand my reach? Over this river? This lake? That mountain?'
 
Paul Klee, 1923: 'Der Verliebte / The Lover', lithography on paper with red plate - printed and published in 1923 by the Bauhaus, Weimar
 
Paul Klee, 1926: 'The Balloon', oil on black board; - quote of Paul Klee, mid-1920's: 'It is interesting to observe how real the object remains, in spite of all abstractions'
 
Paul Klee, 1928: 'Purple, green, orange and white abstraction of a dog howling at the moon', oil-painting on canvas; location: Minneapolis Institute of Art Minnesota
 
Paul Klee, 1931: 'Angel-hat / Engelshut'
 
Paul Klee, 1932: 'View into the Fertile Country / Blick in das Fruchtland'
 
Paul Klee, 1933: 'La Kash-Ne', oil on paper mounted on cardboard; location: Moma New York - in 1933 Klee was singled out by a Nazi newspaper (and fired from his teacher job): 'Then that great fellow Klee comes onto the scene, already famed as a Bauhaus teacher.. .He tells everyone he's a thoroughbred Arab, but he's a typical Galician Jew' - in late 1933 the Klee family emigrated to Switzerland
 
Paul Klee, 1934: 'Figure of the Oriental Theater', oil on fabric mounted on cardboard; location: The Phillips Collection Washington D.C.
 
Paul Klee, 1936: 'Stricken City', gypsum and oil on canvas; location: MOMA New York
 
Paul Klee, 1938: 'Heroic Roses', oil-painting on stained canvas; location: Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany
 
Paul Klee, 1939: 'Engel, übervoll / Angel, over-full', quote of curator Tobias Burg about the many Angels Klee made in his last two years, knowing that he was deathly ill: 'There are no bleak or discouraged works, but extremely smart and witty angels'
 
Paul Klee, 1940: 'Tod und Feuer / Death and Fire', oil-painting on paper; location: Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, Switzerland

Quotes, 1895 - 1902Edit

  • As time passes I become more and more afraid of my growing love of music. I don’t understand myself. I play solo sonatas by Bach: next to them, what is Böcklin? It makes me smile.
    • Quote (November 1897), # 52, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
    • reflecting on his youth and on the uncertainty about the future of choice to make
  • You know what I want to become temporarily today: a painter? No. A simple and common designer. But a biting one. I would like to deride humanity, nothing less. And this with the simplest means, in black and white. At the same time - oh blasphemy - I would like to attack our Lord adequately.
    • Quote in a letter to his friend de:Hans Bloesch, 1898; as cited in Das Frühwerk 1883-1922 (The early works 1888-1922), Munich, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, 1979, p. 47
    • Klee originally aspired to become a satirist, not a painter.
  • Music, for me, is a love bewitched. / Fame as a painter? / Writer, modern poet? Bad joke. / So I have no calling, and loaf.
    • Quote (1899), # 67, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • The conviction that painting is the right profession grows stronger and stronger in me. Writing is the only other thing I still feel attracted to. Perhaps when I am mature I shall go back to it.
    • Quote (1899), # 93, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • Twenty-one years old! I never doubted my vital force. But how is it to fare with my chosen art? The recognition that at bottom I am a poet, after all, should be no hindrance in the plastic arts! And should I really have to be a poet, Lord knows what else I should desire. Certainly, a sea swells within me, for I feel. It is a hopeless state, to feel in such a way that the storm rages on all sides at once and that nowhere is a lord who commands the chaos.
    • Quote (1900), # 121, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • To be a student of Stuck [1898 - 1900] sounded good. In reality, however, it was not half so splendid. Instead of coming to him with a sound mind I brought a thousand pains and many prejudices. In the realm of colour I found it hard to progress. Since the tone provided by mood predominated strongly in my mastery of form, I sought to find as much profit as possible here at least. And, in this respect, a great deal really was to be gained at Stuck's. Naturally I was not the only one, at this time, to be deficient in the realm of color. Later, in his monograph, Kandinsky passed a similar judgement on this school [of Stuck].
    • Quote (1900), # 121, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • ..I served Beauty by drawing her enemies.
    • Quote of Paul Klee, from 'Diaries I', 1901; as quoted in 'Klee & Kandinsky', 2015 exhibition text, Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau Munich, 2015-2016 [1]
    • on his caricatures and his satirical drawings Klee made then
  • Thoughts about the art of portraiture. Some will not recognize the truthfulness of my mirror. Let them remember that I am not here to reflect the surface (this can be done by the photographic plate), but must penetrate inside. My mirror probes down to the heart. I write words on the forehead and around the corners of the mouth. My human faces are truer than the real ones.
    • Diary entry (1901), # 136, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, 1898-1918; University of California Press, 1964
  • My mirror probes down to the heart. I write words on the forehead and around the corners of the mouth. My human faces are truer than the real ones.
    • Diary entry (Munich, 1901), # 136, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, 1898-1918; University of California Press, 1968, p. 48
  • I am God / So much of the divine / is heaped in me / that I cannot die.
    My head burns to the point of bursting.
    One of the worlds / hidden in it / wants to be born. / But now I must suffer / to bring it forth.
    • Quote (1901), # 155, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • I have now reached the point where I can look over the great art of antiquity and its Renaissance. But, for myself, I cannot find any artistic connection with our own times. And to want to create something outside of one's own age strikes me as suspect. Great perplexity. This is why I am again all on the side of satire. Am I to be completely absorbed by it once more? For the time being it is my only creed. Perhaps I shall never become positive? In any case, I will defend myself like a wild beast.
    • Quote (1901), # 294, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • But by way of consolation: it is valueless to paint premature things, what counts is to be a personality, or at least to become one. The domination of life is one of the basic conditions of productive expression. For me this is surely the case; when I am depressed I am unable even to think about it – and this holds true for painting, sculpture, tragedy, or music. But I believe that pictures alone will abundantly fill out this one life.
    • Quote (Bern, April 1902), as cited in Artists on Art, from the 14th – 20th centuries, ed. Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 442
  • I have a feeling that sooner or later I shall arrive at something legitimate, only I must begin, not with hypotheses, but with specific instances, no matter how minute. If I then succeed in distinguishing a clear structure, I get more from it than from a lofty imaginary construction. And the typical will automatically follow from a series of examples.
    • Quote (Bern, April 1902), as cited in Artists on Art, from the 14th – 20th centuries, ed. Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 442
  • The main thing now is not to paint precociously but to be, or at least become, an individual. The art of mastering life is the prerequisite for all further forms of expression, whether they are paintings, sculptures, tragedies, or musical compositions.
    • Diary entry (3 June 1902), # 411, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, 1898-1918; University of California Press, 1968
  • It is a great difficulty and great necessity to have to start with the smallest. I want to be as though new-born, knowing nothing, absolutely nothing, about Europe; ignoring poets and fashions, to be almost primitive. Then I want to do something very modest; to work out by myself a tiny, formal motive, one that my pencil; will be able to hold without any technique. One favorable moment is enough. The little thing is easily and concisely set down. It's already done! It was a tiny but real affair, and someday, through the repetition of such small but original deeds, there will come one work upon which I can really build.
    • Quote (June 1902), as cited in Artists on Art, from the 14th – 20th centuries, ed. Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 442
  • The naked body is an altogether suitable object. In art classes I have gradually learned something of it from every angle. But now I will no more project some plan of it: I will proceed so that all its essentials, even those hidden by optical perspective, will appear upon the paper. And thus a little uncontested personal property has already been discovered, a style has been created.
    • Quote (June 1902), as cited in Artists on Art, from the 14th – 20th centuries, ed. Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 443
  • I project on the surface; that is, the essence of the subject must always become visible, even if this is impossible in nature, which is not adapted to this relief style. The absence of foreshortening also plays a crucial part in the process.. .For I have discovered a very small, undisputed, personal possession: a particular sort of three-dimensional representation on the flat surface.. .I am my style.
    • Quote (July 1902), # 425, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • Everything that used to be foreign to me, at the rational procedures in my profession, I now beging to resort to after all, from necessity, at least as a matter of experiment. Apparently I am becoming perfectly sober and small, perfectly unpoetic and unenthusiastic. I imagine a very small formal motif and try to execute it economically.
    • Quote (July 1902), # 425, in The Diaries of Paul Klee - 1898-1918, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1968

Quotes, 1903 - 1910Edit

  • Formerly it frequently happened to me that when questioned regarding a picture I simply did not know what it represented. I had not seen the subject, so to say. Now I have also included the content so that I know most of the time what is represented. But this only supports my experience that what matters in the ultimate end is the abstract meaning of harmonization (note from a letter, 1903)
    • Quote from a letter (1903), as cited in Artists on Art, from the 14th – 20th centuries, ed. Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 443
  • Serious color studies of nudes and heads. Only as practice and first training. Very strict determination of color values through water color. On top of it, some oils, simply for blending. The results are quite unattractive, little of importance to be hoped for here. This month of February is devoted to color. I painted many nudes from nature and even the portrait of a head, my syster's!
    • Quote (1903), # 485, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • When in Italy [Klee stayed in Italy, in 1901], I learned to understand architectural monuments.. .Even the dullest will understand that the obvious commensurability of parts, to each other and to the whole, corresponds to the hidden numerical proportions that exist in other artificial and natural organisms. It is clear that these figures are not cold and dead, but full of the breath of life; and the importance of measurements as an aid to study and creation becomes evident.
    • Quote (December 1903), as cited in Artists on Art, from the 14th – 20th centuries, ed. Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 444
  • Towards the end of the month I prepared engravings; first, invented appropriate drawings. Not that I want to become a specialist now. But painting with its failures cries out for the relief of minor successes. Nowadays I am a very tired painter, but my skill as a draftsman holds [me] up.
    • Quote (1904), # 512, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • Our initial perplexity before nature is explained by our seeing at first the small outer branches and not penetrating to the main branches or the trunk. But once this is realized, one will perceive a repetition of the whole law even in the outermost leaf and turn it to good use.
    • Quote (1904), # 536, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • When looking at any significant work of art, remember that a more significant one probably has had to be sacrificed.
    • Diary entry (December 1904), # 583, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, 1898-1918; University of California Press, 1968
  • What does the artist create? Forms and spaces! How does he create them? In certain chosen proportions.. .O satire, you plague of intellectuals.
    • Quote (1905), # 599, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • In earlier versions of 'Woman and Beast' the woman suffered too much. Later I gave her that not altogether disgusted expression. Dissertations could be written about the significance of the 'ugliness' of my figures.
    • Quote (1905), # 618, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • Things are not quite so simple with 'pure' art as it is dogmatically claimed. In the final analysis, a drawing simply is no longer a drawing, no matter how self-sufficient its execution may be. It is a symbol, and the more profoundly the imaginary lines of projection meet higher dimensions, the better. In this sense I shall never be a pure artist as the dogma defines him. We higher creatures are also mechanically produced children of God, and yet intellect and soul operate within us in completely different dimensions.
  • The law that supports space - this should be the title appropriate to one of my future pictures!
    • Quote (1905), # 681, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • Am I God? / I have accumulated so many great things in me! / My head aches to the point of bursting. / It has to hold an overview of power. / May you want (are you worthy of it?) / that it be born to you.
    • Quote (1905), # 690, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • ..(Then come the lovers of art / and contemplate the bleeding work from outside. / Then come the photographers. / "New art," it says in the newspaper the following day. / The learned journals / give it a name that ends in "ism").
    • Quote (1905), # 690, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • The beautiful, which is perhaps inseparable from art, is not after all tied to the subject, but to the pictorial representation. In this way and in no other does art overcome the ugly without avoiding it.
    • Diary entry (December 1905), # 733, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, 1898-1918; University of California Press, 1968
  • To emphasize only the beautiful seems to me to be like a mathematical system that only concerns itself with positive numbers.
    • Diary entry (March 1906), # 759, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, 1898-1918; University of California Press, 1968
  • My etchings have.. ..the mistake of being processed as images and to have at the same time the meaning of epigrams. It is the union of pure painting with pure graphics.. .From now onwards my task will be the division of art and graphics, and the full development of both fields. The pure art has already turned to impressionism and the graphics is going to do it.
    • Quote in a letter to his wife, 12 June, 1906; as cited in Paul Klee. Das Frühwerk 1883-1922, p. 50.
  • Van Gogh is congenial to me, 'Vincent' in his letters. Perhaps nature does have something. There is no need, after all, to speak of the smell of earth; it has too peculiar a savor. The words we use to speak about it, I mean, have too peculair a savor. Too bad that the early Van Gogh was so fine a human being, but not so good as a painter, and that the later, wonderful artist is such a marked man. A mean should be found between these four points pf comparison: then, yes!
  • His [ Van Gogh's] pathos is alien to me, especially in my current phase, but he is certainly a genius. Pathetic to the point of being pathological, this endangered man can endanger one who does not see through him. Here a brain is consumed by the fire of a star. It frees itself in its work just before the catastrophe. Deepest tragedy takes place here, real tragedy, natural tragedy, exemplary tragedy. Permit me to be terrified.
  • He [in general] has found his style, when he cannot do otherwise, i.e., cannot do something else.
    • Diary entry (Munich, 1908), # 825, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, 1898-1918; University of California Press, 1968, p. 227
  • The changeover was complete; in the summer of 1907 I devoted myself entirely to the appearance of nature and upon these studies built my black-and-white landscapes on glass, 1907/1908.
  • Beyond the constructive elements of the picture, I studied the tonalities of nature by adding layer upon layer of diluted black watercolour paint. Each layer must dry well. In this way a mathematically correct scale of light and dark values is the result. Squinting facilitates our perception of this phenomenon in nature.
  • Pictures have their skeleton, muscles, and skin like human beings. One may speak of the specific anatomy of the picture. A picture representing 'a naked person' must not be created by the laws of human anatomy, but only by those of compositional anatomy. First one builds an armature on which the picture is to be constructed.
    • Quote (1908), # 840, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • In fact I am beginning to see a way to provide a place for my line. I am at last finding my way out of the dead-end of ornament where I found myself one day in 1907! With new strength from my naturalistic études [studies], I may dare to give form to enter my prime real of psychic improvisation again. Bound only very indirectly to an impression of nature, I may again dare to give form to what burdens the soul. To note experiences that can turn themselves into linear compositions even in the blackest night. Here a new creative possibility has long since been awaiting me, which only my frustration resulting from isolation interfered with in the past. Working in this way, my real personality will express itself, will be able to emancipate itself into the greatest freedom.
  • Looking back at the end of the year created a little more serious mood than before. To bring children [his son de:Felix Klee] in the world is no trifling matter! Over the entire horizon, bluish, phosphorescent flashes of sheet shining.. ..In fact, I really do go out into the snow [near Munich] in all seriousness, station myself there, freeze, freeze stiff, but work. I accomplish little in comparison with the abundance around me, but I accomplish a great deal in comparison with the poverty and simplicity of a small bourgeois homestead.
    • Quote (End of 1908), in 'Diary III', The Diaries of Paul Klee, 1898-1918, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1968, p. 220
  • Nature can afford to be prodigal in everything, the artist must be frugal down to the last detail.
    Nature is garrulous to the point of confusion, let the artist be truly taciturn.
    • Diary entry (Munich, 1909), # 857, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, 1898-1918; University of California Press, 1968, p. 236
  • First of all, the art of living; then as my ideal profession, poetry and philosophy, and as my real profession, plastic arts; in the last resort, for lack of income, illustrations.
    • Quote of Klee (Munich, c. 1910); as cited by Gualtieri Di San Lazzaro, Klee, Praeger, New York, 1957, p. 16
    • Klee was married, had a young son then and did the housework, living in an suburb of Munich

Quotes, 1911 - 1914Edit

  • Kandinsky wants to organize a new society of artists. I came to feel a deep trust in him [ Kandinsky ]. He is somebody, and has an exceptionally beautiful and lucid mind.
    • Quote from Diaries III, 1911; as quoted by Enric Jardi, Paul Klee, Rizzoli Intl Pubns, 1991 - ISBN 0-8478-1343-6, p 12
    • In Autumn 1911 Klee made an acquaintance with August Macke and Kandinsky, and in winter he joined the editorial team of the almanac Der Blaue Reiter. After meeting Kandinsky in Munch, Klee recorded this.
  • And now an altogether revolutionary discovery: to adapt oneself to the contents of the paintbox is more important than [to] nature and its study. I must some day be able to improvise freely on the chromatic keyboard of the rows of watercolor cup.
  • [I] launched a new offensive against the fortress of painting. First, white thinned out in linseed oil as a general base. Second, color the entire surface lightly by applying very large areas of different colors that swim into one other and that must remain free of any effect of chiaroscuro. Third, a drawing, independent of and substituting for the unformulated tonal values. Then, at the end, some bass notes to ward off flabbiness, not too dark, but colored bass notes. This is the style that connects drawing and the realm of color, a saving transfer of my fundamental graphic talent into the domain of painting
  • Alfred Kubin, my benefactor, has arrived! He acted so enthusiastic that he carried me away. We actually sat entranced in front of my drawings! Really quite entranced! Profoundly entranced!
    • Quote (early 1911), Diary # 888; as cited by Francesco Mazzaferro, in 'The Diaries of Paul Klee Part Four', : Klee as an Expressionist and Constructivist Painter
    • Alfred Kubin understood Klee's hieroglyphic language, based on symbols and signs and bought a series of works. As a reaction Klee started in February 1911 to make a precise catalog of all the works, still in his possession
  • Spring. All the things an artist must be: poet, explorer of nature, philosopher! And now I have become a bureaucrat as well as by compiling a large, precise catalogue of all my artistic productions ever since my childhood. I have left out only the school drawings, studies of nudes, etc., because they lack creative self-sufficiency.
    • Diary entry (Spring 1911), # 895, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, 1898-1918; University of California Press, 1968
  • The longer my production moves in a definite direction, the less gaily it progresses. But just now something new seems to be happening to the stream: it is broadening into a lake. I hope it will not lack a corresponding depth. I was the faithful image of a part of art history; I moved towards Impressionism and beyond it. I don't want to say that I grew out of it; I hope this is not so.. .In lucid moments, I now have a clear view of twelve years of the history of my inner self. First the cramped self, that self with the big blinkers, then the disappearance of the blinkers and the self, now gradually the re-emergence of a self without blinkers. It is good that one didn't know this in advance.
  • His [ Vincent van Gogh's] line is new and yet very old, and happily not a purely European affair. It is more a question of reform than of revolution.
  • These are primitive beginnings in art, such as one usually finds in ethnographic collections or at home in one's nursery. Do not laugh, reader! Children also have artistic ability, and there is wisdom in their having it! The more helpless they are, the more instructive are the examples they furnish us; and they must be preserved from corruption at an early age. Parallel phenomena are provided by the works of the mentally diseased; neither childish behaviour nor madness are insulting words here, as they commonly are. All this is to be taken very seriously, more seriously than all the public galleries, when it comes to reforming today's art.
    • Diary entry (January 1912), # 905, quoting his "Munich Art Letter" in the journal Die Alpen
  • [It].. ..is a real declaration of love toward art. Abstraction from this world more as a game, less as a failure of the earthly. Somewhere in between. The man in love no longer drinks and eats..
  • Graphic work as the expressive movement of the hand holding the recording pencil.. ..is so fundamentally different from dealing with tone and color that one can use this technique quite well in the dark, even in the blackest night. On the other hand, tone (movement from light to dark) presupposes some light, and color presupposes a great deal of light.
    • Quote (1912), # 928, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • In my productive activity, every time a type grows beyond the stage of its genesis, and I have about reached the goal, the intensity gets lost very quickly, and I have to look for new ways. It is precisely the way which is productive - this is the essential thing: becoming is more important than being.
    • Quote (1912), # 928, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • I am armed, I am not here, / I am in the depths, am far away ... / I am far away ... / I glow amidst dead.
    • Quote (1912), # 931, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • Genesis as formal motion is the essential thing in a work. In the beginning the motif, insertion of energy, sperm. Works as shaping of form in the material sense: the primitive female component. Works as form - determining sperm: the primitive female component. My drawings belong to the male realm.
    • Quote (1912), # 931, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • [commenting French Cubist art] ..Trees are violated, humans become incapable of life; there is a coercion that leads to the un-recognazibility of the object, to a picture-puzzle. For here what counts is not a profane law, but a law of art.
    • Quote (April 1912); as cited in Kandinsky and Klee in Tunisia, Roger Benjamin & Cristina Ashjian; Univ of California Press, 2015, p. 106
    • In April 1912 Paul Klee spent 16 days with his wife Lily in Paris. They visited the exhibtion of the 'Salon des Independants' of 1912, where works were shown of Delaunay, Seurat and many Cubist works
  • The shaping of form is weak in energy in comparison with the determining of form. The final consequence of both ways of forming is form. From the ways to the end. From activity to the accomplished. From the genuinely living thing to the objective thing. In the beginning the male speciality, the energetic stimulus. Then the fleshly growth of the egg. Or: first the bright flash of lightning, then the raining cloud. When is the spirit at its purest? In the beginning. Here, work that becomes (dual). There, work that is.

'Diary-notes from Tunisia' (1914)Edit

Quotes from Klee's diary-notes, made during (and perhaps after) his trip in Tunisia with August Macke and Louis Moilliet for 2 weeks, starting 6 April 1914
  • The harbor and city.. ..were behind us [Klee's first glimpse of Tunis], slightly hidden. First, we passed down a long canal. On shore, very close, our first Arabs. The sun has a dark power. The colorful clarity on shore full of promise. Macke too feels it. We both know that we shall work well here.
  • Reality and dream simultaneously, and myself makes a third in the party, completely at home here. This will be fine.
  • Tunis. My head is full of the impressions of last night's walk. Art-Nature-Self. Went to work at once and painted in watercolour in the Arab quarter. Began the synthesis of urban architecture and pictorial architecture. Not yet pure, but quite attractive, somewhat too much of the mood, the enthusiasm of traveling in it-the Self, in a word. Things will no doubt get more objective later, once the intoxication has worn off a bit.
  • Color has taken possession of me; no longer do I have to chase after it, I know that it has hold of me forever.. .Color and I are one. I am a painter.
    • Diary-note (Tunisia, 16 April 1914), # 926; as quoted by Suzanne Partsch in Klee (reissue), Benedikt Taschen, Cologne, 2007 - ISBN 978-3-8228-6361-9, p. 20
  • another and longer variant: I now abandon work. It penetrated so deeply and so gently into me, I feel it and it gives me confidence in myself without effort. Color possesses me. I don’t have to pursue it. It will possess me always, I know it. That is the meaning of this happy hour: Colour and I are one. I am a painter.
    • Quote (Tunisia, 16 April 1914), # 926, in: The Diaries of Paul Klee, 1898-1918, transl. Pierre B. Schneider, R.Y. Zachary and Max Knight; Berkely and Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1964
  • The evening is indescribable. And on the top of everything else a full moon came up. Louis urged me to paint it. I said: it will be an exercise at best. Naturally I am not up to this kind of nature. Still, I know a bit more than I did before. I know the disparity between my inadequate resources and nature. This is an internal affair to keep me busy for the next few years. It doesn't trouble me one bit. No use hurrying when you want so much. The evening is deep inside me forever. Many a blond, northern moon rise, like a muted reflection, will softly remind me, and remind me again and again. It will be my bride, my alter ego. An incentive to find myself. I myself am the moon-rise of the South.
    • Diary entry, (Tunisia, April 1914), # 926-k, in: The Diaries of Paul Klee, 1898-1918, transl. Pierre B. Schneider, R.Y. Zachary and Max Knight; Berkely and Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1964

Quotes, 1916 - 1920Edit

  • The more horrible this world (as today, for instance), the more abstract our art, whereas a happy world brings forth an art of the here and now.
    • Diary entry (1915), # 951 , in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
    • Variant: The more horrifying this world becomes (as it is these days) the more art becomes abstract; while a world at peace produces realistic art.
    • Variant: The more horrifying this world becomes, the more art becomes abstract; while a world at peace produces realistic art. (this variant was quoted in the speech "Between Two Ages: The Meaning Of Our Times" by Wm. Van Dusen Wishard)
  • Franz Marc.. ..is more human, he loves more warmly, is more demonstrative.. ..I only try to relate myself to God, and if I am in harmony with God, I don't fancy that my brothers are not also in harmony with me; but that is their business.. .My fire is more like that of the dead or the unborn.. .Art is like Creation: it holds good on the last days as on the first.
    What my art probably lacks, is a kind of passionate humanity. I don't love animals and every sort of creature with an earthly warmth.. .I tend rather to dissolve into the whole of creation and am then on a footing of brotherliness to my neighbour, to all things earthly. I possess. The earth-idea gives way to the world-idea. My love is distant and religious.
    • Quote (1916), # 1008, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • Thoughts at the open window of the payroll department [in a military barrack - World War I.]: That everything is transitory is merely a simile. Everything we see is a proposal, a possibility, an expedient. The real truth, to begin with, remains invisible beneath the surface. The colors that captivate us are not lighting, but light. The graphic universe consists of light and shadow. The diffused clarity of slightly overcast weather is richer in phenomena than a sunny day. A thin stratum of cloud just before the stars break through. It is difficult to catch and represent this, because the moment is so fleeting. It has to penetrate into our soul. The formal has to fuse with the Weltanschauung [world view].
    • Quote (July 1917), # 1081, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • Simple motion strikes us as banal. The time element must be eliminated. Yesterday and tomorrow as simultaneous. In music, polyphony helped to some extent to satisfy this need. A quintet as in 'Don Giovanni' is closer to us than the epic motion in 'Tristan [und Isolde]'. Mozart and Bach are more modern than the [music of the] nineteenth century.
    • Quote (July 1917), # 1081, in The Diaries of Paul Klee, translation: Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary and Max Knight; publisher, University of California Press, 1964
  • Polyphonic painting is superior to music in that, here, the time element becomes a spatial element. The notion of simultaneity stands out even more richly.
    • Paul Klee, quote from 'Diaries III', 1917; as quoted in 'Klee & Kandinsky', 2015 exhibition text, Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau Munich, 2015-2016 [2]
  • We document, explain, justify, construct, organize: these are good things, but we do not succeed in coming to the whole.. .But we may as well calm down: construction is not absolute. Our virtue is this: by cultivating the exact we have laid the foundations for a science of art, including the unknown X.
    • Statement of 1917; as quoted in Teaching at the Bauhaus (2000) by Rainer Wick and Gabriele Diana Grawe, p. 231
  • Everything vanishes around me, and works are born as if out of the void. Ripe, graphic fruits fall off. My hand has become the obedient instrument of a remote will.
    • Diary entry (January/February 1918), # 1104, The Diaries of Paul Klee, 1898-1918 (p. 387)
  • ..I thought I had come into the clear in art when for the first time I was able to apply an abstract style to nature.
    • Paul Klee, in an autobiographical text for Wilhelm Hausenstein, 1919; as quoted in 'Klee & Kandinsky', 2015 exhibition text, Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau Munich, 2015-2016 [3]
  • I can dimly recollect Kandinsky and Weisgerber, who were fellow students of mine.. .Kandinsky was quiet and mixed the colours on his palette with the greatest diligence and, so it seemed to me, with a kind of studiousness, peering very closely at what he was doing.
    • Klee in a autobiographical text for Wilhelm Hausenstein, 1919; as quoted in Klee & Kandinsky, 2015 exhibition text – exposition, Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau Munich, from 21 October 2015 to 24 January 2016: on [4]
  • Diesseitig bin ich gar nicht fassbar. Denn ich wohne grad so gut bei den Toten, wie bei den Ungeborenen. Etwas näher dem Herzen der Schöpfung als üblich. Und noch lange nicht nahe genug.
    • I cannot be grasped in the here and now. For I reside just as much with the dead as with the unborn. Somewhat closer to the heart of creation than usual. But not nearly close enough. The end has met the beginning.
      • Quote from Exhibition catalogue, Galerie Goltz, Munich, published in the gallery's house journal Der Ararat (May 1920). These words were later used as Klee's epitaph in 1940.
    • Variant translation: I cannot be understood at all on this earth. For I live as much with the dead as with the unborn. Somewhat closer to the heart of creation than usual. But not nearly close enough.
      • As quoted in Paul Klee: His Work and Thought (1991) by Marcel Franciscono, p. 5

Creative Credo (1920)Edit

Quotes from: Creative Credo [Schöpferische Konfession] (1920)
  • Kunst gibt nicht das Sichtbare wieder, sondern macht sichtbar.
    • Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.
    • Section I
  • A tendency toward the abstract is inherent in linear expression: graphic imagery being confined to outlines has a fairy-like quality and at the same time can achieve great precision.
    • Section I
  • The pictorial work was born of movement, is itself recorded movement, and is assimilated through movement (eye muscles).
    • Section IV
  • Formerly we used to represent things visible on earth, things we either liked to look at or would have liked to see. Today we reveal the reality that is behind visible things, thus expressing the belief that the visible world is merely an isolated case in relation to the universe and that there are many more other, latent realities. Things appear to assume a broader and more diversified meaning, often seemingly contradicting the rational experience of yesterday. There is a striving to emphasize the essential character of the accidental.
    • Section V

Quotes, 1921 - 1930Edit

  • For the artist communication with nature remains the most essential condition. The artist is human; himself nature; part of nature within natural space.
    • his statement written in 1923, in 'Paths of the Study of Natura' (Wage dar Natur studiums), Paul Klee; in Yearbook of the Staatlich. Bauhaus, Weimar, 1919-1923, Bauhaus Verlag, Weimar, 1923
  • Color is primarily Quality. Secondly, it is also Weight, for it has not only color value but also brilliance. Thirdly, it is Measure, for besides Quality and Weight, it has its limits, its area, and its extent, all of which may be measured.

    Tone value is primarily Weight, but in its extent and its boundaries, it is also Measure.

    Line, however, is solely Measure.

    • Quote from Klee's lecture 'On Modern Art', Kunstverein, Jena (26 January 1924), trans. Paul Findlay in Paul Klee: On Modern Art (London, 1948)
  • It is interesting to observe how real the object remains, in spite of all abstractions.
    • Statement of mid-1920's; as quoted in Abstract Art (1990) by Anna Moszynska, p. 100
  • It is possible that a picture will move far away from Nature and yet find its way back to reality. The faculty of memory, experience at a distance produces pictorial associations.
    • Statement of mid-1920'; as quoted in Abstract Art (1990) by Anna Moszynska, p. 100
  • The longer a line, the more of the time element it contains. Distance is time whereas a surface is apprehended more in terms of the moment.
    • Exact Experiments in the Realm of Art (1927)
  • In art, too, there is room enough for exact research.. .What was accomplished in music before the end of the eighteenth century has hardly been begun in the pictorial field.
    • quote of Paul Klee from the text Exact experiments in the realm of art, 1928; as quoted in 'Klee & Kandinsky', 2015 exhibition text, Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau Munich, 2015-2016 [5]
  • We [at the Bauhaus, in Dessau - where Klee was art teacher with Kandinsky ] construct and construct, and yet intuition still has its uses. Without it we can do a lot, but not everything.. .When intuition is joined to exact research it speeds the progress of exact research..
    • In: 'Bauhaus prospectus 1929'; as quoted in Artists on Art, from the 14th – 20th centuries, ed. by Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 444
  • What had already been done for music by the end of the eighteenth century has at last been begun for the pictorial arts. Mathematics and physics furnished the means in the form of rules to be followed and to be broken. In the beginning it is wholesome to be concerned with the functions and to disregard the finished form. Studies in algebra, in geometry, in mechanics characterize teaching directed towards the essential and the functional, in contrast to apparent. One learns to look behind the façade, to grasp the root of things. One learns to recognize the undercurrents, the antecedents of the visible. One learns to dig down, to uncover, to find the cause, to analyze.
    • In: 'Bauhaus prospectus 1929'; as quoted in Artists on Art, from the 14th – 20th centuries, ed. by Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 444

Pedagogical Sketch Book, (1925)Edit

Quotes from: Pedagogical Sketch Book (Padagogisches Skizzenbuch), 1925, (second of the fourteen Bauhaus Books), ed. Walter Gropius and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy; republished at The Polyglot Press, by Peter Bergman; Frederick A. Praeger, New York, 1953
from: 'Material Structure. in Nature'
  • Structural concept in nature:
    The grouping of the smallest recognizable entities in matter:
    Bone matter is cellular or tubular. Ligament structure is a sinuous-fibrous web.
    Tendons are continuous with the connective tissue of the muscle, strengthened by cross grain.
    • I.8 Material Structure. in Nature, p. 26
  • Bones are coordinated to form the skeleton.
    Even at rest they depend on mutual support.
    This is furnished by the ligaments.
    Theirs is a secondary function; one could speak of a hierarchy of function.
    The next step in motoric organization leads from bone to muscle. The tendon is the mediary between these two.
    • I.9 A The Natural organism of movement as kinetic will and kinetic execution (supra-material), p. 27
  • And what is the relationship of muscle to bone? Through its ability to contract or shorten itself, the muscle brings two bones into a new angular relationship.. ..The position of two bones toward each other must change if the muscle so decides.
    Bones give support to the total organism; also when in motion.
    Muscles have a higher function because they act beside each other.
    One bends, the other stretches.
    One bone alone achieves nothing.
    • I.10 B, p. 28
from: 'Productive | Receptive'
  • The work grows "stone upon stone" (additive) or
    The block is hewn "chip from chip" (subtractive)
    Both processes, building and reducing, are time bound.
    • I.13 Productive | Receptive, p. 33
  • Already at the very beginning of the productive act, shortly after the initial motion to create, occurs the first counter motion, the initial movement of receptivity. This means:
    the creator controls whether what he has produced so far is good.
    • I.13 Productive | Receptive, p. 33
  • The work as human action (genesis) is productive as well as receptive. It is continuity.
    • I.13 Productive | Receptive, p. 33
  • Receptively it [the work as human action] is limited by the limitations of the perceiving eye. The limitation of the eye is its inability to see even a small surface equally sharp at all points. The eye must "graze" over the surface, grasping sharply portion after portion, to convey them to the brain which collects and stores the impressions.
    • I.13 Productive | Receptive, p. 33
  • The eye travels along the paths cut out for it in the work.
    • I.13 Productive | Receptive, p. 33
from: 'The Arrow.'
  • The father of the arrow is the thought: how do I expand my reach? Over this river? This lake? That mountain ?
    • IIII.37, The Arrow. p. 54
  • The contrast between man's ideological capacity to move at random through material and metaphysical spaces and his physical limitations, is Uneven lengths and uneven angle-degrees of the point-rudder result in a deviating course. the origin of all human tragedy. It is this contrast between power and prostration that implies the duality of human existence. Half winged-half imprisoned, this is man!
    • IIII.37, The Arrow. p. 54
  • Thought is the medially between earth and world. The broader the magnitude of his reach, the more painful man's tragic limitation. Thought is the medially between earth and world. The broader the magnitude of his reach, the more painful man's tragic limitation. To get where motion is interminate.
    • IIII.37, The Arrow. p. 54

Quotes, 1931 -1940Edit

  • Yesterday was shaped by Kandinsky's move.. .This departure is what proves something for me.. .It is a friendship that overcomes a number of negative items, because the plus side stands firm and, in particular, because there is a link to my productive youth [in Munich].
    • Quote in a letter to his wife Lily Klee, 11 Dec. 1932; as quoted in 'Klee & Kandinsky', 2015 exhibition text, Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau Munich, 2015-2016 [6]
    • taken from Wikipedia: Following a Nazi smear campaign the Bauhaus academy left Dessau in 1932 for Berlin, until its dissolution in July 1933. Kandinsky then left Germany, settling in Paris.
  • At the moment, an unpleasant feeling presses on my stomach, as though the new year of the unified, national Germany has assisted in the advent of an all too torch-parade-like sparkling wine bacchanal.
    • Quote in a letter to his wife Lily Klee, 1 February 1933; as quoted in 'Klee & Kandinsky', 2015 exhibition text, Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau Munich, 2015-2016 [7]
    • in the same year Paul Klee was fired by the Nazi's; they closed the Bauhaus; the family Klee emigrated to Switzerland
  • Since not even sufficient time for my main business remains to me. Production is taking a larger magnitude at a faster tempo, and can no longer wholly keep up with these children. They [very probably: his new art] issue forth.
    • Paul Klee to his son Felix Paul Klee, 29.12.1939; as quoted in 'Klee & Kandinsky', 2015 exhibition text, Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau Munich, 2015-2016 [8]

Attributed from posthumous publicationsEdit

  • Art should be like a holiday: something to give a man the opportunity to see things differently and to change his point of view.
    • As quoted in the film Der Bauhaus, produced by TV-Rechte in Germany (1975)

Quotes about Paul KleeEdit

sorted chronologically, by date of the quotes about Paul Klee
  • Kandinsky and Klee: the two artists.. ..have been named together more and more frequently.. .Since: is it supposed to be a mere coincidence that, in quiet, remote Dessau.. ..two creative spirits equally liberated from the burden of earthly problems – connecting East and West – live under one roof, or is it a wake-up call, a sign of what is to come?!
    • Quote of Fannina W. Halle, in: 'Das Kunstblatt', 1929; as quoted in 'Klee & Kandinsky', 2015 exhibition text, Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau Munich, 2015-2016 [9]
  • At the Bauhaus, Klee exuded a healthy, generative atmosphere – as a great artist and as a lucid, pure human being.
    • Quote of Kandinsky, from 'Bauhaus. Zeitschrift für Gestaltung', no. 3, 1931; as quoted in 'Klee & Kandinsky', 2015 exhibition text, Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau Munich, 2015-2016 [10]
  • Then that great fellow Klee comes onto the scene, already famed as a Bauhaus teacher in Dessau. He tells everyone he's a thoroughbred Arab, but he's a typical Galician Jew.
    • Quote from an article in a Nazi-newspaper, 1933: as quoted by Suzanne Partsch, in Klee (reissue), Benedikt Taschen, Cologne, 2007 - ISBN 978-3-8228-6361-9, p. 73
    • Klee also taught at the Düsseldorf Academy (also at The Bauhaus, with a. o. Kandinsky) from 1931 to 1933, but was singled out by a Nazi newspaper and then fired - the family Klee emigrated late 1933 to Switzerland
  • It would be so nice to once again drink a cup of tea with you, as was so often and so pleasantly the case in Dessau. We frequently think of our former closeness, of watering flowers at the same time, of the bocce[?] battles and – sad thought – of our collective complaints about the BH Bauhaus meetings [until 1933]. How far behind us all of that is!
    • Quote of Wassily Kandinsky, in a letter from Paris to Paul Klee, 16 Dec. 1936; as quoted in 'Klee & Kandinsky', 2015 exhibition text, Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau Munich, 2015-2016 [11]
  • Alors sempre avanti! (Ever Forward / Always Ahead)
    • Quote of Kandinsky, from Paris to Paul Klee in Switzerland, 12 Dec. 1939; as quoted in 'Klee & Kandinsky', 2015 exhibition text, Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau Munich, 2015-2016 [12]
    • both were teaching on the [[w:Bauhaus|Bauhaus and were close friends, and had to escape the Nazi's in 1933
  • A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. This storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.
  • The reader of the four 'Diaries' of Paul Klee.. ..will be initiated – being presumably an outsider – into a mysterious, rare, individual, and watchful world, that of Paul Klee the 'painter'. Indeed, the entries in his diaries were not originally intended for publication, but merely for his own reflection. During his lifetime my father allowed no one, not even myself, access to his most personal confession.
    • Quote of de:Felix Klee (Paul Klee's son), c. 1957; in the Preface of The Diaries of Paul Klee 1898-1918, edited (and short Introduction) by Felix Klee, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1964, p. vii
    • Paul Klee's Diaries were published in 1957 for the first time in Germany posthumously – with the editing of his son Felix - by the Cologne publisher DuMont
  • But Paul Klee and Franz Marc were also close friends, and August Macke, too, whenever he was in Munich.. .Klee was never as active a theorist, in those years, as Kandinsky or Marianne de Werefkin. Besides, it took Klee much longer to become a truly and conscious modern artist.. .As you can see in my portrait of Klee, which is painted in 1913 – I mean the one where he is seen seated in one of the rooms here downstairs and wearing white summer slacks – he is not very communicative. That is why I depicted him all hunched up and tense, as if he were constraining some mainspring within himself. In my eyes, it was almost a portrait of silence rather than of Klee, and for many years it no longer occurred to me that he had been my model. But Klee was always a close friend of ours, and Kandinsky and I had great confidence in his talent and his future... (1958)
    • Quote of Gabriele Münter in an interview, 1958; as quoted in Dialogues – conversations with European Artists at Mid-century, Edouard Roditi, Lund Humphries Publishers Ltd, London, 1990, p. 120
  • The students' relationship to Kandinsky was very respectful.. .What he said was always insightful and more or less documented. In the case of Klee, in contrast, everything was always up in the air. You could make what you wanted of it.
    • Quote of Gunta Stölzl, in: Das Werk, 11, 1968; as quoted in 'Klee & Kandinsky', 2015 exhibition text, Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau Munich, 2015-2016 [13]
  • Klee was my so-called form master [at the Bauhaus, where a. o. Kandinsky, Klee - and later Albers himself - were art teachers]. In the workshops there they had a crafts master and a form master. The crafts master had to direct the practical work, the mechanics of the workshop. And the form master had to develop the, formal qualities. Klee was my form master in the glass workshop. He came to me and never criticized anything. He talked about something else. Never asked about any form problem with the windows I was working on. Never a word. He was too respectful. He was the nicest master I could ask for. He talked about exhibitions. He thought I should exhibit. That's another story. We had a good relationship because we never dealt with the same problems. He didn't attack our problems. He never brought up a problem.
    • Quote by Josef Albers, in 'Oral history interview with Josef Albers, conducted by Sevim Fesci, 22 June – 5 July 1968, for the 'Archives of American Art', Smithsonian Institution
  • Klee's idiosyncracies always remained somewhat beyond the law, as it were. For 'genius is the defect in the system,' stated the conscientious system builder, who knew that genius was the only thing that could neither be taught nor learned.
    • Quote of Karl Ruhrberg, in Art of the 20th century, Part 1 (2000), p. 116
  • At a certain point in the 1950's he [Klee] had an enormous influence on many artists, including me. It wasn't until about 1965 that he started to slip out of sight - and after that one just didn't hear about him.
    • Bridget Riley, 2002; as quoted by Martin Gayford, in his article 'Close to the heart of creation', in 'The Telegraph, 12 Jan 2002
  • In any painting or drawing by Klee the working method was broadly the same. He started every picture with an abstract mark - a square, a triangle, a circle, a line or a dot - and then allowed that motif to evolve or grow, almost like a living organism. Klee's control over whatever medium he is using is never less than masterful, but you always sense that he began not knowing where it would lead.
    • Quote by Richard Dorment, in 'Paul Klee: Making Visible', in Tate Modern - review, 14 Oct 2013
  • It is typical for Klee that he often brought joyful, sympathetic, childlike angels with small weaknesses on paper in spite of his death warnings. There are no bleak or discouraged works, but extremely smart and witty angels.
    • Quote of curator Tobias Burg, in exhibition-text of the Folkwang Museum 'Die 80 Engel von Paul Klee / The 80 Angels of Paul Klee' in Essen, Germany, 2013

External linksEdit