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A Swiss-born painter and graphic artist whose personal often gently humorous works are replete with allusions to dreams music and poetry Paul Klee b Dec 18 1879 d June 29 1940 is difficult to classify Primitive art surrealism cubism and childrens art all seem blended into his small-scale delicate paintings watercolors and drawings His family was very interested in the arts The jobs that Pauls parents had were strange for 1879 His mom helped support the family by giving piano lessons His father did the housework He cooked cleaned and painted Pauls grandma taught him how to paint After much hesitation he chose to study art not music and he attended the Munich Academy in 1900 Klee later toured Italy 1901-02 responding enthusiastically to Early Christian and Byzantine art Klee was a watercolorist and etcher who was one of the most original masters of modern art Belonging to no specific art movement he created works known for their fantastic dream images wit and imagination These combine satirical grotesque and surreal elements and reveal the influence of Francisco de Goya and James Ensor both of whom Klee admired Two of his best-known etchings dating from 1903 are Virgin in a Tree and Two Men Meet Each Believing the Other to Be of Higher Rank The paintings of Klee are difficult to classify His earliest works were pencil landscape studies that showed the influence of impressionism Until 1912 he also produced many black-and-white etchings the overtones of fantasy and satire in these works showed the influence of 20th-century expressionism as well as of such master printmakers as Francisco Goya and William Blake Klee often incorporated letters and numerals into his paintings but he also produced series of works that explore mosaic and other effects Klees career was a search for the symbols and metaphors that would make this belief visible More than any other painter outside the Surrealist movement with which his work had many affinities
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