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Swiss, 20th century, male.

Active in Germany and Switzerland.

Born 18 December 1879, in Münchenbuchsee; died 29 June 1940, in Muralto, near Locarno.

Painter, draughtsman, printmaker, watercolourist.

Die Blaue Vier, Der Blaue Reiter, Bauhaus..

Paul Klee’s German father was a singing teacher, and his half-French, half-Swiss mother was also very musical. Klee himself played the violin and toyed with the idea of a career in music. In 1898, having hesitated between music and painting, he chose painting. He went to Munich, where he studied at Heinrich Knirr’s free academy (1898–1900). He then went to Franz von Stuck’s studio at the Munich Academy (1900–1901). In 1901, he travelled to Italy for the first time with the sculptor Hermann Haller. There he admired Roman architecture and sculpture, the ruins of Pompeii, the work of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, and the work of Raphael in the Stanze della Segnatura, although he preferred Leonardo da Vinci over both. In 1902, he settled in Bern, before moving to Munich in 1906, the year he married his wife, Lily Stumpf, a pianist. She earned their livelihood giving piano lessons, and the two gave small concerts for their own pleasure and that of their close friends, as well as attending many classical concerts at the city’s concert halls. He was only ever attracted to traditional classical music and did not like the music of the composers of the Vienna School, such as Arnold Schönberg or Alban Berg, although he knew them personally. During this period he admired Aubrey Beardsley and James Ensor....