Paul Klee, His Life and Work in Documents: Selected from Posthumous Writings and Unpublished Letters

Paul Klee, His Life and Work in Documents: Selected from Posthumous Writings and Unpublished Letters

Paul Klee, His Life and Work in Documents: Selected from Posthumous Writings and Unpublished Letters

Paul Klee, His Life and Work in Documents: Selected from Posthumous Writings and Unpublished Letters

Excerpt

As Paul Klee's only son I was asked, some time ago, to do a book about my father. For many years art historians have been producing excellent studies of Paul Klee as painter. The sole claim I can make for my own book is that it views Paul Klee from the purely private and personal angle. However, I consider that the best testimony of all stems directly from my father, and therefore I quote him as often as possible. My feeling is that the picture of Paul Klee as man and artist comes best to life through his own utterances.

The consensus of opinion is, I think, that Klee's contribution to graphic art is valid, although there may be some disagreement on this score. Even during my father's lifetime many assigned him a high place in the development of art in the twentieth century, while others called him a trickster or a schizophrenic, degenerate, crazy, wild and perverse. I myself would prefer to attribute no excessive importance to all this criticism. After all, I knew my father well enough from my earliest childhood to be aware of how healthy and normal he was in body and soul, and how consistently he pursued his artistic and human goals.

In 1956, I edited his Diaries--those remarkable records of his stages on the way to the emergence of his true personality--and I found this assumption of mine confirmed beyond the shadow of a doubt. Those diaries give a comprehensive picture of my father's many-sided interests, artistic and human: they express his views on painting, sculpture, drawing, poetry, architecture, theater, his dealings with other persons, and above all music. This last remained a key aspect of his life. My father was an excellent violinist, a student of Meister Jahn in Bern, and he used to take refuge in music until very late in life.

The attentive reader of the diaries will have become aware that Switzerland, and the city of Bern in particular, with all its memories of his parental home, schooldays and friends, was especially dear to him. He loved Bern's cozy, cordial . . .

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