Paul Klee - Senecio

by Stephan Franck


Paul Klee is considered a learned artist, a pictor doctus - scientist and painter in one person. He was an artist of European modernism and participated in almost all "isms". In 1920, Walter Gropius appointed Paul Klee as workshop master at the state Bauhaus in Weimar.

Senecio was created there in the course of his varied activities in 1922. What is striking about this picture are the geometric shapes. On the one hand, this alludes to the image carrier, i.e. the cardboard, on the other hand to the human figure, which hardly stands out from the beige-orange background. The forms are abstracted, but not to such an extent that the figurativeness of the face would be perceptible. Klee does a remarkable service to painting here. He breaks through the limits of the material, softens the hard edges of Cubism by means of "soft lines" and frees the color from the glamor and pathos of "hard" Futurism '.


Paul Klee had to leave Weimar after the political upheavals in 1926 and moved to Dessau while still at the Bauhaus. After his art was also defamed as degenerate from 1933, he emigrated to his Swiss homeland, where the great artist died in 1940.


Paul Klee - Senecio

Oil on gauze, 1922, 40.3 x 37.4 cm, Basel Art Museum

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