Klee, Kandinsky, Feininger

Klee, Kandinsky, Feininger
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The Bauhaus was an innovative school of art, architecture, and design active in Germany from 1919 until it was closed by the Nazis in 1933. Its concern with geometry and basic constructive principles provided the groundwork for the distinct yet complementary abstract art of Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, and Lyonel Feininger, who each taught at the school.

Klee, one of the most imaginative artists of the twentieth century, was an inspirational teacher at the Bauhaus. He made a trip to North Africa in 1914, where he was profoundly influenced by the purity of light and color. He used simple compositional systems, such as grids, subdivided color bands, and recurrent patterns that create a dialogue between two- and three-dimensional forms. His work is often whimsical, evoking the playfulness and simplicity of children’s art, which he valued and collected.

Kandinsky is often credited with the first move from representational to abstract art. As head of the wall-painting workshop at the Bauhaus, he stressed the systematic study of basic colors and forms. He based many of his works on the circle, which he called the “synthesis of the greatest oppositions.” Kandinsky gave many of his works musical titles, finding in music an analogy to his intense color harmonies.

Lyonel Feininger was a cartoonist before embarking on a fine-arts career. He taught painting and graphics at the Bauhaus and was responsible for the publication of Bauhaus portfolios. His work is characterized by a floating transparency and a crystalline clarity of forms, often inspired by architecture.

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