Paul Klee was born December 18, 1879 in Münchenbuchsee (Switzerland), but received his father's German nationality. Paul's father taught music. In his early years, Paul wanted to be a musician, but he decided on the visual arts in his teen years. He studied art in Munich with Heinrich Knirr and Franz von Stuck.
After travelling to Italy and back to Bern, he settled in Munich, where he met Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc and other avant-garde figures. He became associated with the Blaue Reiter. Here he met Bavarian pianist Lily Stumpf, whom he married.
Klee worked with many different types of media. He often combined them into one work. He has been associated with expressionism, cubism and surrealism but his pictures are difficult to classify. They often have a child-like fragile quality to them. They frequently allude to music, poetry and dreams and sometimes include musical notation or words. The later works are distinguished by spidery hieroglyph-like symbols.
Klee taught at the Bauhaus following World War I, and from 1931 at the Düsseldorf Academy, before being denounced by the Nazi Party for producing 'degenerate art'.
In 1933, Paul Klee returned to Switzerland. In 1935 he was diagnosed with scleroderma. He died in Bern in 1940.