Knowing that the end of his life was near, Paul Klee continued painting, though faster and more boldly. You can see his latter-day work in a Metropolitan Museum of Art called “Late Klee” until March 31.
Because the Met show is limited to Klee’s late art-making, allow me to briefly fill you in with his earlier efforts for the bigger picture.
Klee painted and drew some 9,000 works through his 61 years, http://www.examiner.com/article/in-the-arts-the-past-is-present starting with naturalistic descriptive fine-line drawing, as seen in “My Room,” made when he was 17.
By age 25, his work “Tale à la Hoffmann,” though still fine-lined, is no longer naturalistic.
In the year he died, Klee painted “Tod und Feuer: (Death and Fire) with a markedly heavy line, as if weighted with time, a crude stick figure as if marching toward its end with a face bleached white like that of a skull.
Like a doodle or automatic writing, most of Klee’s art work wasn’t consciously controlled. In his diary, he called his creative processes “psychic improvisations.”
Art historian Werner Haftmann, author of “The Mind and Work of Paul
Klee,” tells an anecdote that one of Klee’s students recounted on a walk with him, which suggests that Klee never stopped working.
“Walking absent-mindedly, but as though under a spell, in time to the music of a passing band right down the middle of the slabs of a concrete pavement…In the course of the ensuing conversation about the suggestive power of the passing music and the rhythm of the slabs of concrete, Klee immediately set himself and his pupil the problem of expressing this rhythmic relationship in pictorial terms.”