Exhibition: Paul Klee. Everything grows | Zentrum Paul Klee

Exhibition: Paul Klee. Everything grows | Zentrum Paul Klee

With the exhibition Paul Klee. Everything grows, the Zentrum Paul Klee grants an insight into Klee’s diverse approach towards nature. Between 20 May and 22 October 2023 the thematic exhibition connects the inside with the outside: An interactive tour reveals the sources of Klee’s inspirations, and a magazine as well as a programme of accompanying events connect the exhibition with FRUCHTLAND, the community garden and the children’s museum Creaviva. The exhibition, organised on as sustainable a basis as possible, offers the opportunity to address our treatment of our resources.

Exhibition: Paul Klee. Everything grows | Zentrum Paul Klee

AH kinds of things sprout, root, flourish and blossom in Paul Klee's works: he viewed the study of nature the foundation of all artistic work. As a young man he practised drawing with detailed copies of nature, but soon came to change his way of looking. He wanted to understand the laws and internal structures of nature. The invention of microscopes encouraged his analytic eye. Klee came to understand that nature's laws of growth and processes of formation could also be applied to abstract elements such as lines and planes, if they were reduced to their essence. Klee compared the seed with a point that grows into a line, and continues to evolve into plane and form.

This deeper understanding of natural laws enabled Klee to create works with a credible internal logic of their own. He intended his works to be based upon the contemplation of nature, but they were also to liberate themselves from nature. That aim remained a challenge for a long time. In the end Klee succeeded in creating a fantastical nature of his own - abstract, human, mysterious, chaotic, humorous, tamed and poetic.

About the exhibition: from the Zentrum Paul Klee into nature and back

After the last exhibition Paul Klee. About Technical Frenzy, the museum is now swinging in the opposite direction. Paul Klee. Everything grows demonstrates the many different ways in which the artist addressed natural phenomena and processes. A huge variety of plants, gardens, landscapes, parks - but also stones, water and meteorological phenomena - are recurring motifs in his work. Klee also drew inspiration from his large collection of natural objects as well as his herbarium. He cast some of his found stones in plaster and painted them in bright colours. The exhibition shows a selection of the treasures that testify to Klee's connection with nature.

The exhibition extends around the Zentrum Paul Klee. The interactive tour 'Natural inspiration' around the museum and in the exhibition shows how Klee drew inspiration from nature. With its external space, FRUCHTLAND, the Zentrum Paul Klee has a unique opportunity to connect Klee's works directly with nature, the source of his inspiration. Selected works in the exhibition, as well as pink periscopes in the outside space, draw visitors' attention to the connections between nature and art. One example of this might be the transformation of birch bark in Klee's work Tree Faces 1.

Part of the community garden by paul&ich has moved inside the Zentrum Paul Klee. The gardening group is bringing seedlings into the building, which will at a given time be replanted outside. Hammocks will be hung outside for visitors to reflect on the exhibition and on nature.

Things will also keep on growing in FRUCHTLAND. UrDinkel - pure spelt, one of the oldest types of grain - is being planted in the main field. The educational programme concentrates on ecology and sustainability. At four events, participants will examine the place in nature occupied by plants, animals, human beings and society - and how they affect one another.

The exhibition also allows us to put forward information about our efforts regarding sustainability, and to reflect together on what we can change in future.

Insights, instructions and reflections

Paul Klee enjoyed cooking, and he cooked often. While his wife Lily kept the family with her work as a pianist, Klee took care of their child and the housekeeping. He recorded some of his recipes in his pocket diary. Some of these recipes appear in the magazine Alles wachst, published to coincide with the exhibition. It also presents paul&ich's community garden, and FRUCHTLAND. The Zentrum Paul Klee takes this exhibition as an opportunity to wonder what contribution it can make to the achievement of climate neutrality. Another article in the magazine asks what Paul Klee's stance on sustainability and the present-day climate movement might have been.

The exhibition runs from Saturday 20 May 2023 until Sunday 22 October 2023.

Dr. Fabienne Eggelhofer

Assistant Curator
Myriam Dossegger

With the support of
Kanton Bern, Federal Office of Culture (BAK)


Biography Paul Klee 1879

Exhibition: Paul Klee. Everything grows | Zentrum Paul Klee
Paul Klee in his studio, Kistlerweg 6, Bern, April (Easter) 1938,
Photographer: Felix Klee
12,8 x 9 cm, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, Donation of the Klee family,
© Klee-Nachlassverwaltung, Hinterkappelen

Paul Klee is born in Munchenbuchsee near Bern on 18th December to the music teacher Hans Wilhelm Klee (1849-1940) and the trained singer Ida Maria Frick (1855-1921).

He finishes his secondary education with a Matura. After wondering whether to become a musician or a painter he decides to go to Munich where he attends the private drawing school run by Heinrich Knirr.
Klee meets his future wife, the pianist Lily Stumpf (1876-1946).
At the Munich Academy he studies painting under Franz von Stuck.
Klee and the Bern sculptor Hermann Haller leave for a six-month period educational journey to Italy. The overwhelming richness of Rome's classical art plunges Klee into an artistic crisis.
To find himself and mature he withdraws at his parents' home in Bern, where he makes his first reverse glass paintings and etchings.
On 15th September, he marries Lily Stumpf in Bern. Two weeks later, the couple moves to Munich.
Felix, the son and only child of Paul and Lily Klee, is born on 30th November.
Exhibition at the Munich and Berlin Secession.
Participation in a group exhibition with fifty-six works at the Kunstmuseum Bern, moving on to Zurich, Winterthur, and Basel.
Klee starts with the illustration of Voltaire's Candide.
Participation in the second Blue Rider exhibition in Munich with seventeen works. In April, he travels to Paris and visits the artists Robert and Sonia Delaunay.
Klee exhibits in Berlin at the First German Autumn Salon i n the gallery Der Sturm of Herwarth Walden.
In April Klee travels to Tunisia with his artist friends August Macke and Louis Moilliet. The impulses to abstraction and treatment of colour that Klee received in Paris are confirmed and further plumbed during this journey. Klee belongs to the founding members of the Neue MunchenerSecession.
On 11th March, he is drafted into the German army as a soldier. After his training in the infantry he is transferred to the maintenance company of the air corps in Schleissheim near Munich and afterwards to Gersthofen. In spite of his service at the army he continues his artistic work.
He becomes a cult figure of the new artscene in Germany due to his exhibitions at the Berlin gallery Der Sturm.
Klee's art dealer Hans Goltz organises a first retrospective in Munich with 362 artworks. On 29th October, Walter Gropius calls Klee to the Bauhaus in Weimar.
On 13th May, Klee commences his academic teaching career at the Bauhaus and moves with his family from Munich to Weimar.
The first exhibition in a German museum takes place in Berlin at the Na- tionalgalerie in the Kronprinzen-Palais.
First solo exhibition in New York. The artists group The Blue Four with Wassily Kandinsky, Lyonel Feininger, Alexej Jawlensky and Paul Klee is founded by the artdealer Galka Scheyer.
The Bauhaus moves to Dessau. Participation of Klee at the first Surrealist exhibition Lapeinture surrealiste in Paris together with Max Ernst, Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso and others.
Klee and his familiy move to Dessau. There they live with Wassily and Nina Kandinsky in one of the three duplexes built by Gropius for Bauhaus master craftsmen.
Trip to Egypt.
To Klee's fiftieth birthday several exhibitions take place such as in Berlin, Dresden, New York and Paris.
Klee takes up a professorship at the Dusseldorf Academy on 1st July.
Klee is suspended from his position as a professor by the National Socialists. At the end of the year 1933 he emigrates to Switzerland initially living in his parental home in Bern.
Klee falls ill, first with bronchitis followed by a pneumonia. In November the illness is diagnosed as measles. But actually it is an undetected scleroderma.
Due to his poor health his output for the year is just twenty-five works - an all-time low.
The National Socialists defame Klee's art as "degenerated” and seize 102 of his works in German museums. 17 of them are presented at the exhibition DegeneratedArtin Munich.
Despite of his bad health the year 1939 with 1 '253 registered works is Klee's most productive year.
On 29th June Paul Klee dies in Locarno-Muralto.



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