Paul Klee

(1879-1940 / Münchenbuchsee)

Paul Klee Quotes

  • ''Standing at his appointed place, at the trunk of the tree, he does nothing other than gather and pass on what comes to him from the depths. He neither serves nor rules—he transmits. His position is humble. And the beauty at the crown is not his own. He is merely a channel.''
    Paul Klee (1879-1940), Swiss artist. On Modern Art (1924).
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  • ''An active line on a walk, moving freely without a goal. A walk for a walk's sake.''
    Paul Klee (1879-1940), Swiss artist. Pedagogical Sketchbook, ch. 1 (1925).
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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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  • ''Satire must not be a kind of superfluous ill will, but ill will from a higher point of view. Ridiculous man, divine God. Or else, hatred against the bogged-down vileness of average man as against the possible heights that humanity might attain.''
    Paul Klee (1879-1940), Swiss artist. The Diaries of Paul Klee 1898-1918, no. 420, 1902 entry (1957, trans. 1965).
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  • ''To emphasize only the beautiful seems to me to be like a mathematical system that only concerns itself with positive numbers.''
    Paul Klee (1879-1940), Swiss artist. Entry, March 1906. The Diaries of Paul Klee 1898-1918, no. 759 (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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  • ''One eye sees, the other feels.''
    Paul Klee (1879-1940), Swiss artist. Entry, 1914. The Diaries of Paul Klee 1898-1918, no. 937 (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).
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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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  • ''When looking at any significant work of art, remember that a more significant one probably has had to be sacrificed.''
    Paul Klee (1879-1940), Swiss artist. Dec. 1904 entry. The Diaries of Paul Klee 1898-1918, no. 583 (1957, trans. 1965).
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