Day 53 of Colourisation Project – June 29
74 years ago on this day, June 24, 1940, Paul Klee, one of the most inventive artists of the 20th century left this world. Paul Klee was a prolific Swiss painter of German nationality. His unique style was influenced by movements in art that included expressionism, cubism, and surrealism. The sheer volume of his work left no doubt that he was a leading force in many of these movements.
Photographer: Alexander Eliasberg – 1911 – Coloured by Loredana Crupi
1914 was a turning point in his life and career. After a visit to Tunisia, Klee’s sense of colour had been revitalised by the light of North Africa. Whilst in Tunisia, Klee gradually detached color from physical form and used it independently, giving him the final impetus toward abstraction. Klee began writing and lecturing about colour theory extensively; his lectures Writings on Form and Design Theory, (Schriften zur Form und Gestaltungslehre), published in English as the Paul Klee Notebooks are highly valued in the art and academic world. Given his relationship to colour, one can only wonder what his position to colourising old photos would be.
Klee supplemented his income through teaching. Throughout the 1920s he taught at the German Bauhaus school of art, design and architecture alongside the Russian painter, Wassily Kandinsky, during which time he produced nearly 5000 pieces of work, mainly water-colours and drawings on paper.
From 1931 to December 1933, Klee taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf where his work was branded “degenerate” by the Nazis. After his home was searched by the Gestapo, he was fired from his job. Klee then made the wise decision to return to his native Bern.
Toward the end of his life Klee suffered from a wasting disease, scleroderma. He died in Muralto, Locarno, Switzerland, on 29 June 1940 and was buried at Schosshaldenfriedhof, Bern, Switzerland leaving behind a legacy of over 9,000 works of art.
“Colour has taken possession of me; no longer do I have to chase after it, I know that it has hold of me forever… Colour and I are one. I am a painter.” — Paul Klee