October 8, 2012

Paul Klee's puppets

(Highways and Byways by Paul Klee, 1929)

I've long been a fan of Paul Klee's paintings and often think of him in the fall because some of my favorite works of his, like Highways and Byways, have an overtly autumnal color palette that reminds me of foliage. But, I didn't know that he spent a period of his career making puppets for his son, Felix and was pleased to discover there's a fairly recent photography book that documents 30 of the remaining puppets from the collection.
Between 1916 and 1925 Paul Klee (1879–1940) created a total of around fifty hand puppets for his son, Felix, of which thirty are still in existence. For the heads, the artist used materials from his own household: beef bones and electrical outlets, bristle brushes, leftover bits of fur, and nutshells. 
As it turns out, and perhaps there is no relation, but in 1926, Alexander Calder started to make the toys that were part of his now-famous circus while he was living in Paris. I wonder if Calder knew of Klee's puppets.