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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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Behind the paintings was an inquisitive mind, striving to push art onwards. Discover quotes from the life of Paul Klee here.

Artist Klee was also a theorist who studied colour in great depth. His life and career have proved fascinating to many, far beyond just his creative art works. There was also literature too, and many have looked for short Paul Klee quotes to try to some up either his character, or the beliefs that he held.

The quotes found within this section attempt to summarise his life and work, and are from his verbal conversations and discussions of his work rather than directly from his own writings. Hearing an artist without editing or re-wording is always a more accurate way of getting to know them, and fortunately there is plenty of information available on this.

Those looking to learn more about his literature should try that section, whilst the content here is less academic, or technical, and more about understanding Paul Klee and the reasons behind his work.

Quotes by Paul Klee

Children also have artistic ability, and there is wisdom in there having it! The more helpless they are, the more instructive are the examples they furnish us; and they must be preserved free of corruption from an early age.

In the final analysis, a drawing simply is no longer a drawing, no matter how self-sufficient its execution may be. It is a symbol, and the more profoundly the imaginary lines of projection meet higher dimensions, the better.

The painter should not paint what he sees, but what will be seen.

The art of mastering life is the prerequisite for all further forms of expression, whether they are paintings, sculptures, tragedies, or musical compositions.

One does not lash hat lies at a distance. The foibles that we ridicule must at least be a little bit our own. Only then will the work be a part of our own flesh. The garden must be weeded.

Color has got me. I no longer need to chase after it. It has got me for ever. I know it. That is the meaning of this happy hour.

It is the artistic mission to penetrate as far as may be toward that secret ground where primal law feeds growth.

My self... is a dramatic ensemble. Here a prophetic ancestor makes his appearance. Here a brutal hero shouts. Here an alcoholic bon vivant argues with a learned professor. Here a lyric muse, chronically love-struck, raises her eyes to heaven. Her papa steps forward, uttering pedantic protests. Here the indulgent uncle intercedes. Here the aunt babbles gossip. Here the maid giggles lasciviously. And I look upon it all with amazement, the sharpened pen in my left hand.

In earlier days, even as a child, the beauty of landscapes was quite clear to me. A background for the soul's moods. Now dangerous moments occur when Nature tries to devour me; at such times I am annihilated, but at peace. This would be fine for old people but I... I am my life's debtor, for I have given promises

The creation of a work of art must of necessity, as a result of entering into the specific dimensions of pictorial art, be accompanied by distortion of the natural form. For, therein is nature reborn.

Klee made me feel that in any plastic expression there is something more than painting-painting, precisely that one must go beyond to reach these areas of deepest emotion.
Joan Miro