ExhibitsEclectic › Homage to Paul Klee

Paul Klee (pronounced “clay”) was one of the great artists of the 20th century.

He is considered the most poetical of all the modern European masters.

For readers who are not familiar with Klee’s art, I suggest that you click on this link for a concise overview of the man and his work.

A short and delightful video is embedded on the web page featuring his 20 most famous paintings.

I had the good fortune to study privately with one of Klee’s students from their days at the famous German Bauhaus School of art and design.

My teacher was named Paul Weighardt. He and his Jewish wife Nellie (a fellow Bauhaus student) fled the Nazis and managed to escape across Russia and China. It was a harrowing journey. They initially ended up as refugees assisted by Quakers in Philadelphia. But like many Bauhaus faculty, students, and other German intellectuals, they ultimately settled in Chicago in the 1950s.

Paul eventually became a distinguished and beloved professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Short video on the work of Paul Weighardt

The Pleasures of Distance (Chicago Tribune)

I studied with Professor Weighardt on Saturday mornings between 1966 and 1968. It was a class for established adult professionals, but I gained entry through my high school art teacher. She was a former student and friend of his.

The sentiment was: if I was going to choose the difficult and precarious life path as an full-time, practicing artist, I had better get the best art and design education starting now.

Although the weekly three-hour creative session was technically a figure drawing and painting class and critique, it was really an enchanting immersion into the roots of modern art and the art spirit.

Paul died in 1969 at the age of 72. I was then a freshman at the Rhode Island School of Design. He had seemed such a very old man to me. His life as both a traumatized soldier in WWI (which left him with a speech impediment) and as an impoverished immigrant had aged him beyond his years.

This series of mixed media print photo collages was created in February of 2022—just before my 72nd birthday. It is a homage to the art and soulful eyes of the great Paul Klee. His sensitive and contemplative vision inspired Paul Weighardt and continues to inspire me.


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