Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Paul Klee, Artist & Autoimmune Sufferer

I was working on my (hopefully soon to be launched) other blog today and realized that one of my favourite artists, Paul Klee, suffered from scleroderma, an autoimmune disease and, it is assumed, died from it in 1940 at the age of 60. Too short a life – damn autoimmune diseases...

He produced over 9,000 works of art in his lifetime. Here are just two.

Before the Gates of Kariouan/Vor den Toren von Kariouan, 1914

Once Emerged from the Gray of the Night/Einst dem Grau der Nacht enttaucht..., 1918


  1. I really don't like it when I hear of some other person from the past having had an A.I.D and not bringing light to it. Or maybe they didn't know. If they did, back in the day it was probably shame that kept them from sounding the horns. I wish more people would speak up.

    I love the first painting. Gorgeous.

    What new blog are you working on?

    Gentle hugs

  2. Thanks for sharing Laurie! I love to check out different art, especially artwork created by someone with autoimmune disease. I like to look at their changes over the years and think anything drastically different has to do with their disease. I find it so all interesting and will be checking out more online, maybe see an exhibit one of these days.

    Thank you,


  3. I love Paul Klee...have one of his prints in my entrance hall. I had no idea he suffered from scleroderma. (My aunt and a cousin died of that particular autoimmune disease at relatively young ages). Another artist who fought through an autoimmune disorder was Renoir. He had severe RA. In his later years he was confined to a wheelchair and had an assistant place his brushes in his hand. He had to adapt his style of painting to work through the limitations of his hands. But, he carried on...brilliantly.

    Thanks for another great post, Laurie. I always enjoy your blog site.

    Hope you're doing well.

    ~ Peggy Sirk

  4. Hey Jenn & Peggy,

    Glad to share! Klee is simply amazing – I love his work. Such humour and colour and wonder in his art. You'll have such fun exploring it, Jenn. Re Renoir, Peggy, I just found that out in the recent months. I can't imagine how horrible it must have been for anyone pre drugs...but amazing for him to have carried on despite that.

    Hi Tazzy,

    I don't think Klee kept his illness a secret in any way really. I just never actually explored his history, despite my enjoyment of his art. Re my new blog, can't really say yet, but once it's up, I'll let you all know! Have a great day!

    :) L

  5. Thanks for sharing that Laurie, I'd never heard of scleroderma before now, or Paul Klee. You learn something new every day :) Can't wait to hear about the new blog project you've got going on. Take it easy!

  6. I was not familiar with Paul before reading this. Thanks for posting. Damn autoimmune diseases ... indeed.

  7. Oh, I've always loved Klee. I have a print of one of his paintings that's truly one of my favorites of all time. It's of a small rider heading toward a little castle, lots of hills in between. Simple, evocative, compelling. And absolutely brilliant colors.

    I had no idea that he died from scleroderma. Thank you for sharing that information; here's another hugely talented person who continued his art in spite of the odds. I'll add him to my list of inspirational people: Renoir, Lucille Ball ... and now, Paul Klee.

    Hope this finds you feeling well and in good spirits, Laurie. How's the job hunt going? You're often in my thoughts.

  8. I had never heard of Paul Klee when I happened to be passing a museum where they were showing his work. I was blown away and went through the gallery 3 times. Interesting to find out he had scleroderma.

  9. I have always enjoyed Paul Klee's work, and now have a new appreciation for his work. Thank you.

    Julie at Mamapedia.com