Paul Klee was a Swiss painter, watercolorist, and etcher. He was a master of modern art, and his work is known for its imagination.
Klee lived most of his life in Switzerland, but was a German citizen, born in Munchenbuchsee on December 18, 1879. At the age of nineteen in 1898 he moved to Munich, and studied art at a private school and at the Munich Academy. His first works were pencil landscape studies showing the influence of impressionism. Until before 1912 he created many black and white etchings, with overtones of fantasy and satire, which show influence of expressionism. From 1920 to 1931 Klee was a teacher at the Bauhaus.
He was inspired to use color, when he visited North Africa in 1914. He declared himself “possessed by color” during this period of his mature style. For the following 20 years his artwork proved a mastery of delicate, dreamlike color harmonies, which he mostly used to make flat, semiabstract compositions, as in Pastoral. Klee was also a master draftsman, creating elaborated line drawings that grew out of fantasy or dream imagery, he described his technique as “taking a line for a walk”.
He suffered a progressive skin and muscular disease in 1935. In this period he reflected his pain with brooding and gloomy works that where characterized by thick, crayon like lines and large areas of subdued color. An example of this is the nightmarish Death and Fire.
On June 29, 1940 Klee died at Muralto, Switzerland. His work has influenced the 20th-century surrealist and nonobjective artists and was a major inspiration for the budding abstract expressionist movement.