Imagining Paul Klee’s Inner Voice As A Friendly, Playful Child

Paul-klee : buste-enfant-1933
Paul Klee, Bust of a Child
A child’s face traced and filled with pastel colors. Paul Klee’s portrait could be mistaken for a child’s drawing. The square canvas and the round shapes of the painting reveal the artist’s innocent and naive mindset. Despite the simplicity of this portrait, there’s is a double game played by the cut outs within the tiny face and the little upper body of this goober.
The painting is far from overwhelming and that’s what makes it pleasant to look at. It’s basically 3 oval shapes: the face, the shoulders and possibly a hand in the appearance of a mitt.

He is saying HI! with his right hand. His eyes are green, small and trustworthy.

He is saying HI! with his right hand. His eyes are green, small and trustworthy.
His smile is shy. From the corner of his mouth he is engaging with us.
How do we know it’s a he? We don’t really. I’m just assuming it’s a boy because I’m thinking that the author, Paul Klee, is depicting himself. As he remembers himself at that age. Or as he feels inside.

He is maybe talking to his inner child and that painting is  what he is seeing.

He is maybe talking to his inner child and that painting is  what he is seeing.
That’s nice. His inner voice, the little person guiding and reassuring him seems friendly. We can’t all say we have that kind little voice inside ourselves. I don’t!

What are all these irregular traces on the child? Why has the shape been cut out into un-even parts?
Paul Klee was a musician. He found in music a visual rhythm that he translated in his drawings. Maybe he was listening to Jean-Sebastien Bach while sketching. And the structural, staccato tempo got him into an energetic mood. The lines, even though not as straight  as they should be create a dynamic structure.

Can you see the rectangle and the 2 white squares in the child’s face and his shoulders? They are hidden elements yet we can’t ignore them. To me, they symbolize the child’s biology. The artist, feeling this presence so deep and so strong into his body and soul wanted it to have its proper organs. Now we know that this kid is alive. He has a brain, lungs and a heart.
Despite their odd geometric shapes, the organs are offering life to this little person. And an inner voice that’s so friendly and loving deserves to stay alive, as mathematical as his organs can be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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