Paul Klee: The Visible And The Legible

Hardcover | July 20, 2015

byAnnie Bourneuf

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The fact that Paul Klee (1879–1940) consistently intertwined the visual and the verbal in his art has long fascinated commentators from Walter Benjamin to Michel Foucault. However, the questions it prompts have never been satisfactorily answered—until now. In Paul Klee, Annie Bourneuf offers the first full account of the interplay between the visible and the legible in Klee’s works from the 1910s and 1920s.

Bourneuf argues that Klee joined these elements to invite a manner of viewing that would unfold in time, a process analogous to reading. From his elaborate titles to the small scale he favored to his metaphoric play with materials, Klee created forms that hover between the pictorial and the written. Through his unique approach, he subverted forms of modernist painting that were generally seen to threaten slow, contemplative viewing. Tracing the fraught relations among seeing, reading, and imagining in the early twentieth century, Bourneuf shows how Klee reconceptualized abstraction at a key moment in its development.

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From the Publisher

The fact that Paul Klee (1879–1940) consistently intertwined the visual and the verbal in his art has long fascinated commentators from Walter Benjamin to Michel Foucault. However, the questions it prompts have never been satisfactorily answered—until now. In Paul Klee, Annie Bourneuf offers the first full account of the interplay betw...

Annie Bourneuf is assistant professor of art history at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 7 × 1 inPublished:July 20, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022609118X

ISBN - 13:9780226091181

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  
Note on Klee’s Sequential Numbering System  
Introduction

1 The “Painter-Draftsman”  
2 Seeing and Speculating  
3 A Refuge for Script  

Epilogue: Old Sound  
Notes  
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Klee continues to fascinate us as a painter, printmaker, and draftsman, but we are also drawn to his activities as a teacher, theorist, and writer. Bourneuf has provided a wonderfully provocative and nuanced reading that highlights the sometimes ambiguous and even ambivalent tension that arose for Klee at the intersection of these activities. This is a sophisticated work that contributes to the scholarship on Klee, the history of abstraction, and the historiography of modernism as well as the critical issues that frame image making/writing and reading/seeing.”