Friday, September 4, 2009

"A drawing is simply a line going out for a walk." Paul Klee

Looking at this, I think you might never guess that it's a watercolor by Paul Klee, painted when he was about 30. It's called The Artist in the Window - you can feel how much he's concentrating, completely absorbed in his work. I too am rather hunched over as I work, but never with this much power. According to Don Hall, author of Klee, the artist has digested and re-interpreted the work of Matisse and others of the French school by "greatly exaggerating the distortions they employed."

As Hall explains it, this painting came early, long before Klee h
ad become the respected teacher and accomplished painter we are familiar with.

Looking through images over the years to follow, it's amazing to see how his style evolved as he combined line and planes of color in inventive ways, reflecting his belief that "everything that happens in a picture must have its logical justification."

There's a very beautiful painting by Klee, Fire in th
e Evening. The title of this work from his Egyptian series ties it to nature, even though it appears that he's just as interested in the subdivisions of space with vertical and horizontal lines as he his with depicting the red sun drawing the eye as evening colors fade to grays.

Finally, toward the end of his life you come to R
ed Waistcoat, painted nearly 30 years later than the self-portrait above, when Klee was suffering from schlerodema. According to Hall, Klee is "breaking down the former flowing line and rhythmic repetitions into separate units" and, rather than locating images in space, he's using fragments of broken line to suggest relationships and create energy.

Hall says the breaks in the line relea
se energy, kind of like a door that's ajar. That makes sense to me. What do you think?

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