Swiss-born painter and graphic artist whose personal, often gently humorous paintings are replete with allusions to dreams, music, and poetry, Primitive art, surealism and cubism, and children's art all seem blended into his small-scale, delicate oil paintings, watercolors, and drawings. Paul Klee grew up in a musical family and was himself a violinist. After much hesitation Klee chose to study art, not music, and he attended the Munich Academy in 1900. There his teacher was the popular symbolist and society painter Franz von Stuck.
After his marriage in 1906 to the pianist Lili Stumpf, Paul Klee settled in Munich, then an important center for avant-garde art. That same year he exhibited his etchings for the first time. His friendship with the painters Kandinsky and August Macke prompted him to join Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), an expressionist group that contributed much to the development of abstract art.
Klee taught at the Bauhaus school after World War I, where his friend Kandinsky was also a faculty member. In 1931 he began teaching at Dusseldorf Academy, but he was dismissed by the Nazis, who termed his work "degenerate." In 1933, Paul Klee went to Switzerland. There he came down with the crippling collagen disease scleroderma, which forced him to develop a simpler style and eventually killed him.
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