3,900 Pages of Paul Klee’s Personal Notebooks Are Now Online, Presenting His Bauhaus Teachings (1921-1931)

Klee Notebooks 1

Paul Klee led an artistic life that spanned the 19th and 20th centuries, but he kept his aesthetic sensibility tuned to the future. Because of that, much of the Swiss-German Bauhaus-associated painter's work, which at its most distinctive defines its own category of abstraction, still exudes a vitality today.




And he left behind not just those 9,000 pieces of art (not counting the hand puppets he made for his son), but plenty of writings as well, the best known of which came out in English as Paul Klee Notebooks, two volumes (The Thinking Eye and The Nature of Nature) collecting the artist's essays on modern art and the lectures he gave at the Bauhaus schools in the 1920s.

Klee Notebooks 2

"These works are considered so important for understanding modern art that they are compared to the importance that Leonardo’s A Treatise on Painting had for Renaissance," says Monoskop. Their description also quotes critic Herbert Read, who described the books as  "the most complete presentation of the principles of design ever made by a modern artist – it constitutes the Principia Aesthetica of a new era of art, in which Klee occupies a position comparable to Newton’s in the realm of physics."

Klee Notebooks 3

More recently, the Zentrum Paul Klee made available online almost all 3,900 pages of Klee's personal notebooks, which he used as the source for his Bauhaus teaching between 1921 and 1931. If you can't read German, his extensively detailed textual theorizing on the mechanics of art (especially the use of color, with which he struggled before returning from a 1914 trip to Tunisia declaring, "Color and I are one. I am a painter") may not immediately resonate with you. But his copious illustrations of all these observations and principles, in their vividness, clarity, and reflection of a truly active mind, can still captivate anybody  — just as his paintings do.

Klee Notebooks 4

Follow Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

If you'd like to support Open Culture and our mission, please consider making a donation to our site. It's hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us provide the best free cultural and educational materials.

via Monoskop

Related Content:

The Homemade Hand Puppets of Bauhaus Artist Paul Klee

Download Original Bauhaus Books & Journals for Free: Gropius, Klee, Kandinsky, Moholy-Nagy & More

Kandinsky, Klee & Other Bauhaus Artists Designed Ingenious Costumes Like You’ve Never Seen Before

815 Free Art Books from World Class Museums: The Met, the Guggenheim, the Getty & LACMA

The Nazi’s Philistine Grudge Against Abstract Art and The “Degenerate Art Exhibition” of 1937

Bauhaus, Modernism & Other Design Movements Explained by New Animated Video Series

Download All 36 of Jan Vermeer’s Beautifully Rare Paintings (Most in Stunning High Resolution)

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.


by | Permalink | Comments (22) |





Comments (22)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Quantcast