Notebooks Paul Klee Buy Art Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

Paul Klee's bold work in abstraction caught the attention of the founder of Bauhaus School known as Walter Gropius

He was invited to teach in the institution together with his college Kandinsky. Their work in the school made a mark in the history of the evolution of art as it is where he came up with the popular notebooks of artwork.

He met other artists such as Johannes Itten, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, and Lyonel Feinger. Their work helped to teach the tenets of abstract artwork. Klee describes drawing as 'line going for a walk'. This philosophy expresses his complex view and signature approach to art.

The notebooks are written in 2 volumes. The first volume was edited by Jurg Spiller while Ralph Manheim did the translation. The writings that composed Paul Klee's theory – production form and pictorial form, carries the same information with a similar meaning as 'painting Renaissance art' – a method comprised of Leonardo's writings.

Both notebooks do not contain real and proper treatise, meaning, a collection of technical and stylistic rules resulting from the analysis an artist engages during work and the experience acquired from the wok. The volume has a magnificent collection of more than a thousand drawings illustrating the notes, and a half-turn of 188 illustrations, of which eight are colourfully reproduced.

The second volume had 534 pages and was also edited by Jurg Spiller while Heinz Norden did the translation. The volume is a continuation of the first volume. It comprises mainly notes and illustrations specifically for the General system of pictorial media, combined with the nature study. This is what he lectured at Bauhaus during the winter season, 1923/4.

The emphasis of this volume is on nature study, and it was the starting point for the artist's creative process. This volume includes two hundred and forty-three reproduction of his works, fifteen are in a full colour, and this makes the total to be over Six hundred illustrations. It has 629 entry writings about and by the artist.

Paul Klee – born in Switzerland on the 18th of December 1879 – is said to be one of the most notable artists to have ever lived.

He is said to be the father and inventor of abstract artwork. His works have been termed as revolutionary in the world of modern art as Newton was in the world of physics.

His work inspired a cult of following in the field of art up to date. His exemplary work was influenced by expressionism, surrealism, and cubism.


Klee was born in a musical family as his father was a music teacher. In his teenage years, his attention turned from music to arts. He studied extensively at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts in 1898. By 1900 he had developed several signature techniques such as etching. His first works known as inventions were etchings whereby he drew with a needle on a black plane of glass.

In 1910 he held his first exhibition which he showcased in three different cities. This led him to meet an art critic called Alfred. This connection ushered him into a new dimension of modern art whereby he began working with other artistic and critics. This work involved expressing art on landscapes such as quarries and experiments in watercolours.

His work in abstract drawing started after taking a trip to Tunisia. According to research, he was inspired by the light in Tunis, and since then he began drawing pure abstract artwork. He drew what was referred to like the style of Kairouan by using shapes such as circles and rectangles. This marked his breakthrough and his journey to revolutionary modern art.


It is at this time that Klee together with some other artists rebelled against the traditional work of art. They turned away from the representation of objects as they as perceived in the real world and started representing them as they envisioned them.

This movement would come to be known as abstraction. Klee is viewed as the founder of this movement followed by some other artists such as Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky. This group of modern artists held a common belief that art should not only represent what is seen in the physical world but also represent what is envisioned in the metaphysical realm.

This journey intensified after his two close peers named Marc and August Macke died in World War I. The psychological trauma seemed to increase his work of abstraction as his art moved more into the Metaphysical world. In 1916, his paintings were inspired by Kandinsky's manifesto which stated 'On the Spiritual in Art.'

This led him to come up with pictures in the 1920's under ' Creative Credo' whose philosophy was that art should not only reproduce what is visible but should make the invisible visible.

Paul Klee's Inspiration

His family background played a significant role in inspiring Klee. The fact that he was born in a musical background, he got involved in music, and he was talented in playing the violin. With the support from his family, he received an invitation to make music, at the age 11, with Bern Music Association.

Though his father was a music teacher, he never got in his son's way when Paul Klee decided to get involved with arts. His musical background is said to have had a vital influence in his drawings as most of his mystical works seemed to depict musical rhythms.

Klee admired children's art, which made them free of other models or making them from previous examples. In each of his work, he always strived to come up with the same kind of untutored simplicity. He often achieved his goal by employing intense colours. He was greatly inspired by a trip he made to North Africa in his early age.

He constantly, using his artistic techniques, experimented with the power of a colour to impress. This often went against the traditional rule based on a painting. Klee also did his painting by applying the paints in unusual ways, that is, through stamping and spraying.

He did this during his time in the Bauhaus. Doing his work in an ordinary way, Klee painted a variety of materials like burlap, muslin and cardboard panel.