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Paul Klee’s Early Prints

Todd Powelson
Two Men Meet, Each Supposing The Other To Be Of Higher Rank - 1903

Human behavior and social interaction can be a troubling thing. Often, what I find most bothersome is presumed authority. When I see people trying to throw unearned authority around, it makes me chuckle, and my mind’s eye will sometimes flash to Paul Klee‘s print titled “Two Men Meet, Each Supposing The Other To Be Of Higher Rank”. The print is funny, honest, but also sad as hell.


I’ve always been a big fan of Klee’s work, especially his prints from around 1900. It has been a couple of years ago now, but Anna and I were able to see a collection of 20 or so prints from that time in San Francisco. It was completely unexpected, but so very beautiful. This series of prints wasn’t shown as a whole until the early 1940s, the exhibit Anna and I saw was a recreation of their first appearance. I had no idea that the show was even going down at the SFMOMA, but I am so glad we were able to spend some time with the artwork. These prints are incredible.

Woman In A tree

The prints are somewhat unique in style and subject when compared to the rest of Klee’s career. The majority of these pieces were made after Klee visited Italy and first saw Renaissance art. Most are nightmare critiques of bourgeois society. Social criticism is something you just don’t see that often in his later work. Or, it is just not as obvious.

Winged Hero

Klee is an amazing artist, and among the most important and influential on the direction of modern art. He heavily influenced Dada and Surrealism, Russian Constructivism, and Abstract Expressionism. Not to mention many of the artists who came out of the Bauhaus school, where Paul Klee taught until the Nazi’s shut the school down.

Threatening Head
Todd Powelson
Todd Powelson works as a Graphic Designer, Illustrator, and Visual Artist.

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