Quotations From PAUL KLEE


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  • The beautiful, which is perhaps inseparable from art, is not after all tied to the subject, but to the pictorial representation. In this way and in no other does art overcome the ugly without avoiding it.
    Paul Klee (1879-1940), Swiss artist. The Diaries of Paul Klee 1898-1918, no. 733, December 1905 entry (1957, trans. 1965).

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  • Nature is garrulous to the point of confusion, let the artist be truly taciturn.
    Paul Klee (1879-1940), Swiss artist. The Diaries of Paul Klee 1898-1918, no. 857, 1909 entry (1957, trans. 1965).

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  • Beauty is as relative as light and dark. Thus, there exists no beautiful woman, none at all, because you are never certain that a still far more beautiful woman will not appear and completely shame the supposed beauty of the first.
    Paul Klee (1879-1940), Swiss artist. Entry, 1910. The Diaries of Paul Klee 1898-1918, no. 871 (1957, trans. 1965).

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  • Children also have artistic ability, and there is wisdom in their 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.
    Paul Klee (1879-1940), Swiss artist. The Diaries of Paul Klee 1898-1918, no. 905, entry for Jan. 1912 (1957, trans. 1965).

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  • Color possesses me. I don't have to pursue it. It will possess me always, I know it. That is the meaning of this happy hour: Color and I are one. I am a painter.
    Paul Klee (1879-1940), Swiss artist. The Diaries of Paul Klee 1898-1918, entry for April 16, 1914 (1957, trans. 1965). Written in Tunisia.

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  • Here a brain is consumed by the fire of a star. It frees itself in its work just before the catastrophe. Deepest tragedy takes place here, real tragedy, natural tragedy, exemplary tragedy.
    Paul Klee (1879-1940), Swiss artist. The Diaries of Paul Klee 1898-1918, no. 816, entry for March 1908 (1957, trans. 1965).

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  • One does not lash what 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.
    Paul Klee (1879-1940), Swiss artist. The Diaries of Paul Klee 1898-1918, no. 681, entry for July 1905 (1957, trans. 1965).

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  • The worst state of affairs is when science begins to concern itself with art.
    Paul Klee (1879-1940), Swiss artist. The Diaries of Paul Klee 1898-1918, no. 747, Jan. 1906 entry (1957, trans. 1965).
  • Democracy with its semi-civilization sincerely cherishes junk. The artist's power should be spiritual. But the power of the majority is material. When these worlds meet occasionally, it is pure coincidence.
    Paul Klee (1879-1940), Swiss artist. entry, Jan. 1906. The Diaries of Paul Klee 1898-1918, no. 747 (1957, trans. 1965).

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  • The art of mastering life is the prerequisite for all further forms of expression, whether they are paintings, sculptures, tragedies, or musical compositions.
    Paul Klee (1879-1940), Swiss artist. The Diaries of Paul Klee 1898-1918, entry for June 3, 1902 (1957, trans. 1965).

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