Paul Klee Rugs

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Learn More About Artist Paul Klee and His Rugs

Art rugs by famous artists

Paul Klee Rugs – Widely celebrated for his distinct and innovative approach, artist Paul Klee is surly one of the more important and influential artists of the twentieth century. A German-Swiss painter, Klee’s immediately recognizable style includes elements of expressionism, cubism, surrealism, and futurism. Klee famously taught at the German Bauhaus School of Design, Art and Architecture alongside fellow painter and friend Wassily Kandinsky. Paul Klee is responsible for designing some genuinely beautiful area rugs which beautifully showcase his unique style. Renowned throughout the art world for his striking style and unique opinions on contemporary art movements, Paul Klee remains one of the most important artists to have worked in the past one hundred years.

Artist Paul Klee - Nazmiyal Antique Rugs

Artist Paul Klee

When twentieth-century art movements are viewed with the privilege of today’s hindsight, there are a myriad of interesting developments that one cannot help but notice. For instance, the post-modern style of Paul Klee may now be seen as a logical development following on the heels of the incredible popularity of figures such as Picasso and Dali, also twentieth century giants who pioneered certain artistic notions. When post-modern aesthetic values began to profligate throughout twentieth century society, there was a sudden and great demand for artworks that challenged the status quo in new and exciting ways. Paul Klee’s distinct style, which marries together some of the more disparate approaches to post-modern aesthetics, is a wonderful consequence of an art world ever clamoring for novelty and innovation.

The life and work of artist Paul Klee

Affiliation with the “Blue Rider”, 1911

During January 1911, Alfred Kubin and Klee crossed paths in Munich, a meeting that would lead Klee to illustrate Voltaire’s Candide. His resulting drawings found publication in a 1920 edition of the book edited by Kurt Wolff. This juncture marked a period of heightened graphic work for Klee. His initial affinity for the absurd and the sardonic was well-received by Kubin, leading to a burgeoning friendship and making Kubin one of Klee’s earliest significant collectors. It was through Kubin that Klee was introduced to the art critic Wilhelm Hausenstein in 1911. That same summer, Klee became a founding member and manager of the Munich artists’ association, Sema. In the fall, he established connections with August Macke and Wassily Kandinsky, and during the winter, he became part of the editorial team behind the almanac Der Blaue Reiter, initiated by Franz Marc and Kandinsky. On meeting Kandinsky, Klee noted, “I came to feel a deep trust in him. He is somebody, and has an exceptionally beautiful and lucid mind.” This group also included members like Macke, Gabriele Münter, and Marianne von Werefkin. Within a few months, Klee evolved into a vital and autonomous figure within the Blaue Reiter, although his integration was not yet complete.

The almanac’s release was postponed to coincide with an exhibition. The first Blaue Reiter exhibition took place from December 18, 1911, to January 1, 1912, at the Moderne Galerie Heinrich Thannhauser in Munich. Klee didn’t participate, but in the second exhibition from February 12 to March 18, 1912, at the Galerie Goltz, 17 of his graphic works were on display. This exhibition, named Schwarz-Weiß, was solely focused on graphic art. Originally slated for 1911, the Der Blaue Reiter almanac by Kandinsky and Marc was published in May 1912, and it included Klee’s ink drawing titled Steinhauer. During the same period, Kandinsky released his art history writing, Über das Geistige in der Kunst.

Participation in Art Exhibitions, 1912–1913

This association marked a turning point in Klee’s perspective on color theories. His sojourn to Paris in 1912 exposed him to the fervor of Cubism and the pioneering essence of “pure painting,” an early label for abstract art. The vivid use of color by artists like Robert Delaunay and Maurice de Vlaminck also served as a wellspring of inspiration. Rather than imitate these artists, Klee commenced his own experiments with color in delicate watercolors and produced some primal landscapes, including works like In the Quarry (1913) and Houses near the Gravel Pit (1913). These creations featured color blocks with minimal overlap. Klee acknowledged that “a long struggle lies in store for me in this field of color” to reach his “distant noble aim.” In due course, he found “the style which connects drawing and the realm of color.”

Journey to Tunis, 1914

Klee’s artistic epiphany transpired in 1914 during a brief trip to Tunisia alongside August Macke and Louis Moilliet. The remarkable quality of light in Tunisia left an indelible impression on Klee. He penned, “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.” With this revelation, fidelity to nature waned in significance. Klee’s exploration turned toward the “cool romanticism of abstraction.” Abandoning a faithful reproduction of reality, he embarked on a journey into abstraction. This second artistic lexicon empowered him to incorporate color alongside his drawing skills, blending the two harmoniously. In certain series, like the “operatic paintings,” he masterfully interwove these two dimensions. An exemplar of this fusion can be seen in The Bavarian Don Giovanni (1919).

Upon his return, Klee created his first purely abstract work, In the Style of Kairouan (1914), characterized by colored rectangles and sporadic circles. The colored rectangle emerged as his foundational unit, akin to a musical note according to some scholars. Klee combined these colored blocks to orchestrate color harmonies akin to musical compositions. The chosen color palette mirrored a musical key. Sometimes, he paired complementary colors; at other times, he employed “dissonant” colors, reflecting his resonance with musicality.

Military Service

A few weeks later, World War I erupted. Initially, Klee maintained a certain detachment, writing with irony, “I have long had this war in me. That is why, inwardly, it is none of my concern.” Klee was conscripted as a Landsturmsoldat (a reserve soldier in Prussia or Imperial Germany) on March 5, 1916. The deaths of his friends August Macke and Franz Marc in battle began to impact him. Channeling his distress, he produced numerous pen and ink lithographs with war as the theme, including Death for the Idea (1915). After completing his military training course, which commenced on March 11, 1916, he was stationed as a soldier behind the front lines. Klee transferred to the aircraft maintenance company in Oberschleissheim on August 20, where he engaged in skilled manual labor such as restoring aircraft camouflage and aiding in aircraft transport. On January 17, 1917, he was moved to the Royal Bavarian Flying School in Gersthofen (later the USASA Field Station Augsburg) to work as a clerk for the treasurer until the war’s end. This arrangement provided him a small room outside the barracks and enabled him to continue his painting.

Throughout the war, Klee persisted in his artistic endeavors and managed to exhibit in several shows. By 1917, his work was gaining recognition, and art critics hailed him as a standout among the emerging German artists. His Ab ovo (1917) stands out for its sophisticated technique, combining watercolor on gauze and paper with a chalk base, yielding a rich texture of triangular, circular, and crescent patterns. Demonstrating his versatility in blending color and line, Warning of the Ships (1918) is a colored drawing replete with symbolic imagery against a backdrop of muted colors.

Klee’s Later Life and Artistic Journey

In 1919, Paul Klee sought a teaching position at the Academy of Art in Stuttgart. Although this endeavor didn’t come to fruition, he experienced a significant breakthrough when he secured a three-year contract, complete with a guaranteed minimum annual income, from the influential art dealer Hans Goltz. This arrangement brought Klee substantial visibility and a measure of commercial success. A particularly noteworthy event in 1920 was a retrospective exhibition showcasing over 300 of his works.

From January 1921 to April 1931, Klee assumed a teaching role at the Bauhaus. During this period, he held the position of a “Form” master, contributing his expertise to disciplines like bookbinding, stained glass, and mural painting. The Bauhaus provided him with two dedicated studios. The addition of Wassily Kandinsky to the staff in 1922 rekindled their friendship. In the same year, the inaugural Bauhaus exhibition and festival took place, where Klee played a role in crafting advertising materials. Within the dynamic atmosphere of the Bauhaus, Klee embraced the clash of diverse theories and opinions, expressing, “I also approve of these forces competing one with the other if the result is achievement.”

Klee’s association with Die Blaue Vier (The Blue Four) further enriched his career trajectory. Formed in 1923 with members like Kandinsky, Lyonel Feininger, and Alexej von Jawlensky, this group lectured and exhibited collectively, including a tour of the United States in 1925. Simultaneously, Klee’s star was on the rise in Paris, where his initial exhibits in 1925 garnered him considerable attention from the French Surrealists. A visit to Egypt in 1928 left a lesser impression compared to his earlier experiences in Tunisia. In 1929, a significant monograph on Klee’s work, authored by Will Grohmann, marked a pivotal moment.

Klee’s teaching journey extended to the Düsseldorf Academy from 1931 to 1933. However, this period was fraught with challenges. A Nazi newspaper singled him out, labeling him as “that great fellow Klee,” noting his fame as a Bauhaus teacher, but derogatorily highlighting his background as a “thoroughbred Arab” and “typical Galician Jew.” The Gestapo conducted a search of his home, and he was eventually dismissed from his position. His self-portrait titled Struck from the List (1933) poignantly captures this somber occasion. During 1933–34, Klee presented exhibitions in London and Paris and had the long-awaited opportunity to meet Pablo Picasso, an artist he greatly admired. Fleeing the political turmoil, the Klee family emigrated to Switzerland in late 1933.

Amidst these challenges, Klee’s artistic output reached its zenith. His masterpiece Ad Parnassum (1932) exemplifies his pointillist style, showcasing meticulous detail and intricate craftsmanship. This painting stands as one of his largest and most refined works. His creative vigor persisted in his final years in Germany, producing nearly 500 works in 1933 alone. However, his health took a turn in 1933, marked by symptoms that would later be diagnosed as scleroderma, a debilitating condition that hindered swallowing. This health trajectory is palpable in the art he created during his last years. By 1936, his output dwindled to 25 pieces. Toward the late 1930s, Klee experienced a partial recovery and found solace in visits from Kandinsky and Picasso. His focus shifted to simpler, larger designs, enabling him to maintain his artistic productivity. In 1939, he achieved a career high, creating over 1,200 works in a single year. These works were characterized by bolder lines and predominantly geometric forms, with fewer yet more prominent blocks of color. The varied color palettes reflected his alternating emotional states of optimism and pessimism. However, as events unfolded, Klee’s works were included in the “Degenerate Art” exhibition in Germany in 1937, with the Nazis seizing 102 of his pieces from public collections.

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