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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The basis of almost any artist's skills is their ability to draw

Though he is mainly known for his paintings, Klee produced hundreds of drawings during his career, they should not be forgotten as they form a substantial section of his body of work, and contribute to his style as a whole.

Stylistic Transition

Initially, Klee was associated with the German Expressionist movement. However, his work is so diverse it cannot be attributed to any one style. His influential work depicts abstract ideas, and reflects his views as a transcendentalist.

He believed that our world was only one of many realities; this is clearly shown in his drawings, where creatures or settings appear otherworldly.

Use of Symbolism

Many of Klee’s drawings are largely symbolic, but in a literal sense. Often the subjects of a painting, a person or object, are replaced by a sign or symbol such as hieroglyphs or simple lines – the meaning behind which are open to interpretation and needn’t be known to enjoy the piece.

This blurring of boundaries between art and written language creates a hybrid system of communication which fits comfortably in the ethereal tone of his work.

Inspiration of Primitive and Child Art

Klee’s admiration of children’s art was evident in his simplistic small-scale drawings. The freedom with which children express themselves, unadulterated by influence, leads to more creative and unique artwork; Klee’s mimicry of this style is apparent as we see almost authentically childlike creations in his work, but with a darker tone and undeniable artistic skill.

Klee often combined artistic mediums, so in many of his drawings you will see ink, but also watercolours, oil paint, and pastels. His canvas also varied, from paper to burlap, to linen, to wallpaper.

Klee’s work is rich and varied, employing different techniques, styles, ideas, materials, and emotions. In works created towards the end of his life you will see a final change in his style – large, bold, and sombre.