Kerfe's Reviews > Paul Klee: Life and Work

Paul Klee by Boris Friedewald
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Aug 30, 11

bookshelves: non-fiction, visual-arts
Read in August, 2011

"Should everything be known after all? Ah, I think not."
--Paul Klee, inscribed on his last untitled painting

Friedewald recounts Klee's life, the pull between music and art, his long and meandering journey to an artistic vision, the Bauhaus years, and then his final years in Switzerland, fighting a chronic auto-immune disorder, a "degenerate artist" force to flee Germany and the Nazis.

The narrative is straightforward and unembellished; what makes the book special are the quotes from Klee and the reproductions of his work, many of which I had never seen before, paired in a mostly chronological synchronicity with the events of his life. The result is a very clear representation of both the breadth of his artisitic explorations and the ways they incorporated what had gone before.

Klee never got stuck in being "Klee" and continued to renew his vision until the final work. Because so many of the same images are used to exemplify Klee over and over in discussions of his artistic legacy, my interest in him had diminished. Friedewald's book refreshed my own perceptions and increased my respect for both Klee and his art.
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