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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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Paul Klee was a very imaginative artist who created abstract pieces that were inspired by myths and his perception on the world.

Klee did not just create paintings, however. One of his largest projects was his large array of puppets. In total, Klee created around fifty puppets for his son, Felix.

Only thirty still exist, as most were destroyed during world war two. Klee was incredibly creative with how he made these puppets. He used beef bones, bristles from brushes and the shells of nuts.

Klee made the puppets to entertain his son, not to act as great artistic pieces. However, they are praised for how they reflect artistic development.

Paul Klee's collection of puppets shows how imaginative he is when it comes to artistic expression.

It was in fact Felix's 9th birthday, that was when Klee created the puppets. Felix adored these little things that his father created 50 of them. Each time he made a puppet, they grew more creative and imaginative.

Punch and Judy are incredibly inspirational when it comes to puppets. Germany had an answer to these - Kasperl and Gretl.

The first puppets that Klee created were very basic, just constructed out of plaster and cloth.

Klee began to put more effort and time into the puppets, however, due to Felix's adoration of them. As well as the mentioned materials above, Paul Klee used components such as matchboxes, walnuts and animal fur.

The costumes that the puppets wore initially were not created by Paul Klee but by Sasha Morgenthaler. Morgenthaler was a swiss artist who was most accustomed with sculptoring and painting. She made the costumes that Klee's puppets wore out of silk, linen and other materials. Sasha would become a famous doll maker after this point.

Paul Klee Hand Puppets Large Photograph

Sasha dolls, as they would become to be known, are a type of doll created specifically by Sasha Morgenthaler. They were created in Germany and the UK in the late 60's. People would eagerly start to collect Sasha dolls. They were known for how individual they appeared, along with realistic expressions and a colour that other dolls did not have.

Sasha dolls have great detail which makes them a favourite. The dolls have subtle expressions rather than forced ones that are seen on other dolls. These dolls were created after the second world war, Sasha was concerned that children of such a disastrous war would not be able to relate to overly happy dolls.

After a number of puppets had costumes made by Sasha, Klee went on to make the costumes himself. He would create theatres for the puppets to peform in. These shows would taken place in the doorway of the small apartment they lived in.

The first theatre that Klee created for his peforming puppets was made with picture frames that he no longer used. He would also incorporate illustrations and paintings from Blue Rider almanac.

Paul Klee was a member of the Blue Rider movement. This was a group of artists, including Kandisnky, who formed to protest one of the said artists creations being turned down by an exhibition. They wished to promote and push forward modern art as well as adopt a more spontaneous, natural approach to creating artwork. The almanac of this group included a large variation of different types of art. Including primitive, children's, African, medieval German, Bavarian artwork as well as a number of pieces by famed artists.

Paul Klee would not live a very long life and died at the age of 60 in the year 1940. Though he is known as Swiss-German, and he in fact was born in Switzerland and died there, he never obtained the citzenship of a Swiss citizen. The authorities in Switzerland considered Klee's artwork to be too forward and not appropriate. This mindset changed as quick as six days after Paul Klee died. Altogether, Paul Klee created around 9000 pieces of art.