Paul Klee is an artist most associated with the modernist movement and for mastery of colour in his paintings. This mammoth Tate exhibition across 17 rooms looks across his career with over 130 works on display. It highlights both how talented a painter and draughtsman he was and the diversity of his work.
There is plenty of art in Klee’s signature bold and colourful semi-abstract style. Recognisable objects like flowers, a hotel and the sun appear interspersed among blocks of bright colours. There are also his trademark darker works where the black backgrounds ensure that the bright foreground objects become more vivid.
Eyes stare out of some of his works forcing the viewer to be drawn in, whether they are disembodied and accusatory or upon fishes that look on helplessly and forlornly.
A Klee quote in the exhibition states “Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible”. This is a great summary of Klee’s style, as he was able to create scenes that are rooted in the real world yet bear the hallmarks of a fervent imagination.
What’s most impressive about Klee’s work is his versatility and how unfair it is to label him simply as a modernist. This exhibition shows us that he was equally adept at drawing caricatures, minimalism, primitivism and almost any technique he turned his hand to. A brightly coloured expressionist painting of a witch can be seen in one room while a pastel coloured pointillist portrait of a dancer may be seen in the next.
This large exhibition does a great job of showing us what a tour de force Klee was and highlights his immense talent and versatility which is only matched by Picasso.
The EY Exhibition – Paul Klee: Making Visible is on at Tate Modern until 9 March 2014. Tickets are £16.50 for adults, concessions available.