Paul Klee

German, born Switzerland (Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland, 1879 - 1940, Muralto, Switzerland)

Among the most versatile and wide-ranging of modern artists, Paul Klee experimented in nearly every major avant-garde style, yet maintained his distinctive artistic personality throughout.

A German citizen by birth, Klee moved to Munich in 1906 to pursue his studies. His mature paintings, drawings, and prints push the boundary between abstraction and figuration. Often these works are populated by whimsical figures who are nonetheless the venue for sophisticated investigations into line, color, and shape.

Klee taught for many years at the Bauhaus, the famed academy in Weimar dedicated to the fine and applied arts. When the Nazi party came to power in 1933, Klee fled to Switzerland; he was later denounced as a "degenerate artist." He remained in Switzerland, in progressively failing health, until his death.


From June 3, 2013, through early 2016, SFMOMA's building on Third Street in San Francisco will be temporarily closed for expansion construction. Selected artworks in our collection are included in a range of off-site exhibitions during this period. We regret that the remainder of the collection will not be available for study during this time.

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