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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Paul Klee and abstraction


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, Alexander Eliasberg


Paul Klee (1879-1940) was a Swiss painter best known his contributions to abstract art. Wikipedia says,


"[Klee's] highly individual style was influenced by movements in art that included Expressionism, Cubism and Surrealism. Klee was a natural draftsman who experimented with and eventually deeply explored color theory, writing about it extensively..." (Wikipedia: Paul Klee, 7.19.21 UTC 08:59)


Art historian Richard Dorment said,


"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 the nallowed that motif to evolve or grow, almost like a living organism." (Paul Klee: Marking Visible, 2013)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Klee.


Abstract art


"The shaping of form is weak in energy in comparison with the determining of form... Then the fleshly growth of the egg. Or: first first the bright flash of lightning, then the raining cloud." (Diary, 1913)


"It is interesting to observe how real the object remains, in spite of all abstractions." (Quoted in Abstract Art by Anna Moszynska)


"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." (Letter to Hans Bloesch, 1898)




"When in Italy, 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." (Quoted in Artists on Art by Robert Goldwater)




"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." (Diary, 1911)


"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." (Diary, 1912)