At last a desideratum expressed over decades is fulfilled: From the end of August 2012 the Zentrum Paul Klee in Berne (Switzerland) is activating an online database, where all the teaching notes written by Paul Klee can be seen in facsimile and transcript. Compiled during his teaching activities from 1921 to 1931 at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau, these unique pedagogical materials from one of the most important artists of the classical modern, are being made accessible in their entirety worldwide.
The Swiss painter Paul Klee (1879–1940) was active at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau between 1921 and 1931. The aim of this school was not to train artists, but future designers and architects. Paul Klee’s theoretical teaching therefore consisted of the instruction of fundamental creative principles. During his teaching activity around 3'900 loose pages of teaching notes were written which Klee called «Teaching notes on Pictorial Creation», as well as a notebook with the title «Lecture notes on pictorial formation», which was already published in facsimile in 1979. The material previously known under the term «Pedagogic Legacy» has been in the possession of the Paul-Klee-Foundation since 1956 and is preserved today in the Zentrum Paul Klee in Berne.
During a four year research project, funded by the Swiss National Fund SNF all the notes were sorted, digitalized, transcribed and newly ordered. This new order is based on a table of contents that Paul Klee formulated around 1928 and which provides information about the structure of this extensive convolution.
Based on the table of contents almost all the pages could be assigned to a chapter of the Teaching notes on Pictorial Creation. With about 500 pages no precise classification was possible; therefore they have been filed into an appendix. As well as a general introduction each one of the 24 chapters in total on the database opens with a short explanation to assist users in accessing the individual themes, providing an initial survey of the content and information about the new order. The aim of the research project was to make the notes in their entirety accessible worldwide through a contemporary medium. For this reason an historically comprehensive critical edition has been consciously avoided. Since Paul Klee repeatedly reused and reworked the material, a chronological order of the material was impossible.
With the online publication of the Teaching Notes on Pictorial Creation the Zentrum Paul Klee fulfills a longstanding desideratum expressed within the world of Klee researchers and through it hopes to inspire new research in art history.
The development of the online database was made possible by the Paul Klee Foundation of the Civic Community of Berne.
Until 6th January 2013 the Zentrum Paul Klee is presenting the exhibition Master Klee! Teacher at the Bauhaus and displaying the results of the research project in a suitable way. Further information is available under www.zpk.org. The exhibition can be seen in a slightly altered form in the Fundación Juan March in Madrid (22.3.-30.6.2013) and in the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation (25.7.-10.11.2013).