Klee (18 December 1879 – 29 June 1940) was an artist with a highly individualistic style embodying elements of Expressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism. His father was a German music teacher, and his mother a Swiss singer. Although Klee was born and lived in Switzerland much of his life, he was not granted Swiss citizenship until after his death. When he was young, and with the encouragement of his parents, Klee showed some natural talent as a violinist. Nevertheless, he decided to focus on the visual arts in his early teens, in which he perceived greater scope for experimentation. Klee graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich in 1901, and spent the decade preceding the WWI travelling, meeting like-minded artists, and experimenting with colour. In addition to exhibiting his artwork during this time, Klee worked variously as a violinist and arts reviewer. During the inter-war period, Klee was based in Germany, and enjoyed critical and commercial success. However, his work was described as degenerate by the Nazis, and in 1933 he returned with his family to Switzerland, at the height of his creative output.
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