This week’s Studio Sunday artist is Paul Klee. Klee was a Swiss-born German artist whose work has been categorized as part of the Expressionist, Surrealist, and Cubist movements. The artist was noted for works that reflected a certain sense of dry humour and playfulness, even framed in the context of the Bauhaus school and its strict ideals for design and architecture.
The studio pictured above was located at the Bauhaus, shortly before the school was shut down by the German Nazis in the 1930s. I love how crowded the artist’s studio looks in this photo. The space is absolutely packed with canvases and easels, and it almost seems like it would be difficult for the artist to navigate the space without bumping into a wet canvas, or a table full of brushes and paint cans.
Interestingly, the space seems rather dimly lit, though that may be simply the look of the old photograph -- the studio isn’t the same airy warehouse as we expect today, but rather a more cramped, cozy space like the studios of Nicolas de Stael, or Georges Braque. Still, the paintings that Klee was apparently working on at the time have a very modern, contemporary aesthetic about them -- grids of perfect squares of pigment suggest a beautifully diverse palette, even in black and white.
Though Klee’s paintings were sometimes maligned for being unskilled or childlike during his career, much of the artist’s portfolio served to critique and poke fun at larger artistic and political machinations. The artist passed away in 1940, but his art remains in private and public collections throughout the world.