Listening to Art

10.11: Paul Klee, Static-Dynamic Intensification

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Listening to Art, by William Denton.

Volume ten, number eleven: Static-Dynamic Intensification by Paul Klee.

Hello, and welcome to Listening to Art. I’m William Denton.

This painting we will hear today is also known in English as “Static-Dynamic Gradation.” It was made in 1923 by German artist Paul Klee (1879–1940) when he was a teacher at the Bauhaus. I quote from Teaching at the Bauhaus by Rainer Wick, translated by Stephen Mason (pp. 231–232):

As was true of most of the other artists teaching at the Bauhaus, for Klee, too, teaching and artistic creation represented an inseparable set of conditions. It is not always easy to decide whether it was the external pressure to didactic reflection in the context of preparation for a course that inspired the artist to new pictorial inventions or whether the production of images was primary and influenced the teaching only secondarily. However it may be in a specific case, during the time he was active at the Bauhaus in Weimar (less so in Dessau) Klee seems to have understood the pedagogical and artistic as a unity: “Here in the studio I paint a half dozen paintings and draw and think about my course, all at once. It has to go together; otherwise it wouldn’t work at all.”

This is a painting, oil and gouache on paper bordered with gouache, watercolour, and ink, mounted on cardboard, 26.1 cm wide by 38.1 cm high.

Now let’s listen to Static-Dynamic Intensification by Paul Klee, recorded while on tour from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City at the National Gallery of Canada, in Ottawa, on 16 March 2019.

Waveform of the field recording.

That was Static-Dynamic Intensification by Paul Klee. I hope you enjoyed listening to it as much as I did.

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All web sites accessed as of date of publication.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Paul Klee, Static-Dynamic Gradation.” Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Wick, Rainer. Teaching at the Bauhaus. Translated by Stephen Mason. Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany: Hatje Cantz, 2000.

Wikipedia, s.v. “Bauhaus,”

⸻ s.v. “Paul Klee,”