A version of this article by Faena Aleph appears in print on March 17, 2016, in “Aleph Recommends” of the Faena Aleph digital magazine.
accessing the private: paul klee’s digital diaries
[header photo credit: Zantrum Paul Klee/Bleistift und Farbstift auf Papier, 33 x 21 cm, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, PN5 M4/112]
“I and Color are One” -P. Klee
The grand artist of visual language left more than drawings and paintings. His personal notebooks are as beautiful as any of his finished works and can be accessed by the digital archive at Zantrum Paul Klee.
More recently, the Zentrum Paul Klee digitized almost 3,900 pages of the personal notebooks which Klee used as a source for his lectures on Bauhaus between 1921 and 1931. The pages are in German, but there is both legibility and beauty in the drawings accompanying the notes. Klee structured in his drawings a kind of visual linguistics of ordered sensations that can be read as a series of stories ––one of the best series of graphic stories that exist in the world of art.
See more beautiful works from the Zentrum Paul Klee archives after the jump…
[photo caption: today’s Google Doodle celebrates Paul Klee’s 139th birthday.]
Paul Klee left behind some 9,000 pieces of art in a category of his own invention. ––One of abstraction in which the figurative elements never disappear completely and there are small, tiny living entities within the colored transparencies of each drawing. Throughout his long career (which sailed through every artistic movement of the time without ever staying too long in one) he purged his technique to manic degrees. Precisely for this reason, his work constitutes one of the most valuable narratives, or better, one of the most valuable cartographies of signs in art. Fortunately, Klee left not only the visual work but also many writings to accompany it.
The best known are The Notebooks of Paul Klee in two volumes (The Thinking Eye and The Nature of Nature), which bring together his essays on modern art and lectures he gave at the Bauhaus school in the 1920s. The critic Herbert Read described these 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.”
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