Paul Klee [1879-1940] was born in Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland, and is considered both a German and a Swiss painter. His highly individual style was influenced by movements in art that included Expressionism, cubism and surrealism. He was, as well, a student of orientalism. Klee was a natural draftsman who experimented with and eventually mastered colour theory, and wrote extensively about it; his lectures Writings on Form and Design Theory Schriften zur Form und Gestaltungslehre, published in English as the Paul Klee Notebooks, are considered so important for modern art that they are compared to the importance that Leonardo da Vinci's A Treatise on Painting had for Renaissance.
He and his colleague, the russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, both taught at the German Bauhaus school of art, design and architecture. His works reflect his dry humour and his sometimes childlike perspective, his personal moods and beliefs, and his musicality.
Klee has been variously associated with Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism and Abstraction, but his pictures 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.
Klee worked in many different media-oil paint, watercolor, ink, pastel, etching and others. He often combined them into one work. He used canvas, burlap, muslin, linen, gauze, cardboard, metal foils, fabric, wallpaper, and newsprint. Klee employed spray paint, knife application, stamping, glazing, and impasto, and mixed media such as oil with watercolor, water color with pen and India ink, and oil with tempera. He was a natural draftsman, and through long experimentation developed a mastery of color and tonality. Many of his works combine these skills.
He uses a great variety of color palettes from nearly monochromatic to highly polychromatic. His works often have a fragile child-like quality to them and are usually on a small scale. He often used geometric forms as well as letters, numbers, and arrows, and combined them with figures of animals and people. Some works were completely abstract. Many of his works and their titles reflect his dry humor and varying moods; some express political convictions. They frequently allude to poetry, music and dreams and sometimes include words or musical notation. The later works are distinguished by spidery hieroglyph-like symbols.