Published on September 26th, 2017 | by Magda Michalska
Paul Klee’s Autumn Atmosphere
Hello autumn! I really like this season, especially for its colour palette: reddish and yellowish leaves, beige rainbow coats, green wellies, orange pumpkins… The colours of fall are warm and they create a unique atmosphere of coziness. Can you feel it in Paul Klee’s autumn paintings?
Familiar autumn views
Here Klee painted a familiar landscape as he was born in Münchenbuchsee, in Switzerland. Although it is very abstract, we can still distinguish the shapes of small country houses, lost somewhere in the Swiss mountains. Are they so brightly coloured by the setting autumn sun, or is it more artist’s internal feeling of autumn projected on their walls?
Klee’s highly original style had its roots in Expressionism, Cubism and early Surrealism. Often his works seem simplistic, childlike, naive. Sometimes they lean towards geometry, sometimes towards ‘disegno’, drawing. They vary in style, but also in technique, as Klee used various media, including watercolours, ink, oils, pastels, often combining them together.
Klee, similarly to Expressionists, tried to express his own mood in colours. This is why his paintings are so varied chromatically, ranging from nearly monochromatic to highly polychromatic.
Klee’s father was a musician and Paul himself was trained to play music, too. His interests in sound and harmonies are very evident in his paintings (can you ‘hear’ the rain in this small village?). Poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote about Klee in 1921, “Even if you hadn’t told me he plays the violin, I would have guessed that on many occasions his drawings were transcriptions of music.”
Not only was Klee inspired by music, but music got inspired by Klee too!
By the end of 1960s a group of Cleveland-based musicians created a series of songs called ‘electronic paintings’. The jazz composer Chuck Mangione and local producer-arranger Roger Karshner arranged the album Performing Musical Interpretations of the Paintings of Paul Klee, with a glossy leaflet including lyrics and reproductions of various Klee pictures, but it was not a hit. Shortly afterwards, Mangione’s brother Gap recorded a track Diana In The Autumn Wind (titled like the drawing above!), an instrumental jazz-pop LP, which you can listen to here: