Paul Klee

Paul Klee, born on December 18, 1879, in Switzerland, grew up in music, and his talented parents encouraged his interest. He became an accomplished violinist at a young age but would later be drawn to painting and eventually commit to it. He created various types of paintings and drawings, and he rubbed shoulders with some distinguished artists, all the while cementing his place in art history.

Fast Facts

Full Name:

Paul Klee

Birth date:

December 18, 1879

Death date:

June 29, 1940 (age 60)

Zodiac Sign:


Net Worth:

$1.5 million


Inspired by the movements of expressionism and cubism, Paul Klee had a different outlook on art and wanted to explore the different ways in which he could express himself in his work. Born on December 18, 1879, Klee was the son of a music teacher and singer and was exposed to music at an early age. The youngest of two, he tried his hand at the violin while in primary school, and with the encouragement of his parents, he soon became so good at the instrument that he was invited to prestigious events to perform for large crowds of people. He kept a good record of his creations and notes, which are still referred to today.

Klee studied humanities and moved on to the Academy of Fine Arts to pursue art as a field of study. He met his wife Lily Stumpf, a pianist, in 1899, and they wed in 1906. His travels exposed him to more landscapes, colors, and patterns, enabling him to expand his knowledge and strengthen his pencil skill. He studied various forms of art as well as the artists that came before him. He became affiliated with some prominent artists who were part of Der Blaue Reiter, a group of artists united against Neue Künstlervereinigung München. Among the members was the famous Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, who was the founder of the group as well as Klee’s neighbor. He later joined the collective as a member of the editorial team.

He was drafted to serve in the military when World War I began, and within the following years, his work received praise from critics and art enthusiasts — and also sold well. He began teaching at the Staatliches Bauhaus, an art school in Germany, during the 1920s and shared his knowledge through his Pedagogical Sketchbook. He created just shy of 10,000 art pieces and is regarded as one of the most inspired and influential artists of his time.

Career timeline

He Becomes an Established Violinist

As a young boy, Paul Klee takes up violin lessons and becomes exceptionally good at it.

His First Solo Art Exhibition

Klee's first solo exhibition, of more than 50 works from the period 1907-1910, opens at the Kunstmuseum Bern (Museum of Fine Arts Bern).

He Joins Der Blaue Reiter

Klee becomes a member of the editorial team for Der Blaue Reiter.

He is Drafted into War

Klee loses his friends in the war but, after the war, is fortunate to be given a job as a clerk, where he spent his time working on his art and channeling his grief.

Klee Becomes a Teacher

He begins writing reviews of art exhibits and concerts, teaching life-drawing classes, and providing illustrations for journals and books

Why We Love Paul Klee

  1. His need to evolve

    Paul Klee transitioned from a violinist to a painter and sketcher, later becoming a teacher as well as a member of notable artist unions. He welcomed change and the possibilities that it presented.

  2. His curiosity

    His trip to Tunisia inspired him immensely. He was captivated by the quality of light in Tunis, which encouraged him to try his hand at more abstract paintings.

  3. His remarkable work ethic

    Klee completed more than 9,000 pieces of work in his lifetime. Many of these art pieces are exhibited in his museum.

5 Surprising Facts

  1. He founded an artists’ union

    Klee came together with a group of young artists to form an association called Sema; they published portfolios and hosted several exhibitions.

  2. His artistic inspirations

    He was inspired by artists Robert Delaunay and Maurice de Vlaminck.

  3. There's a museum named after him

    Founded in 1998, in Bern, Switzerland, the Zentrum Paul Klee features a large number of Klee’s works.

  4. He was considered a degenerate

    During the Nazi regime, all abstract pieces of art, along with their creators, were not considered ‘pure,’ and this led to their inclusion in degenerate art exhibitions — a number of Klee’s artworks were exhibited.

  5. He had his own Google Doodle

    To celebrate his 139th birthday in 2018, Google created one of their popular Google Doodles, which is a temporary altercation of the company’s logo to commemorate key events and public figures.

Paul Klee FAQs

Did Paul Klee have any children?

Klee and his wife Lily Stumpf had their son, Felix, in 1907.

What is Paul Klee’s most expensive painting ever sold?

Klee’s painting titled “Tanzerin” was created in the 1930s depicting a dancer drawn with a single line. It was sold in 2011 for over $6,700,000 in London.

Did Paul Klee have any pets?

It’s believed that Klee was a lover of cats, and as a result, he and his wife owned about six cats that served not only as furry companions but also as sources of inspiration for the painter.

Paul Klee’s birthday dates

2024December 18Wednesday
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2026December 18Friday
2027December 18Saturday
2028December 18Monday

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