Twittering Machine Paul Klee Buy Art Prints Now
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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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Twittering Machine is an visual, abstract depiction of sound

Artist Klee is famous for capturing sound visually in his work, and this is one of the more frequently researched areas of his work. Twittering Machine (Die Zwitscher-Maschine) is one of the clearest examples of this visualisation of music.

The combination of nature and machinery is an uncomfortable mix which most artists have not addressed. Klee, however, did so on many occasions.

A small flock of birds are joined by a cranking mechanism, confusing many and leaving us to speculate over the precise symbolism to be found in Twittering Machine.

The modernist, abstract style of Klee was underlined by his inclusion in the 'degenerates'. This term was used by Nazi Germany to group together all art movements which they did not feel were suitable for their citizens.

Many of these so-called degenerates are now classified as amongst the most influential and creative artists of the 20th century, particularly within European and American art.

Whilst much of this work was seized and removed from display, Twittering Machine was thankfully sold on to a collector who understood it's importance and exported it to the United States.

The original painting is now in the possession of the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), who own several Paul Klee artworks. This artist's career has become seen as highly influential to much that followed, and, as such, paintings like Twittering Machine are popular items amongst the Museum's impressive collection.

Whilst being a visualisation of music itself, some have actually used the painting as a starting point for inspiration to create music of their own. Thus, the cycle of creativity continues.

Birds on a wire is a symbolic scene usde by many artists, most famously by American photographer, Ansel Adams, in his Birds on a Wire photograph.

In this abstract painting Klee presents a different style, line drawings these birds more in keeping with simple sketches like Pablo Picasso's Penguin and Owl. There are also similarities with the drawing artwork of Wassily Kandinsky and Joan Miro.

The colours and content in this painting are believed to be, or so it's owners, MoMA, believe a move by the artist to represent the changing times of the day, hence the changing sky colours.