The naive, whimsical quality of Paul Klee’s painting belies the formidable intellect behind the work. Born near Berne, Switzerland, and the son of a music teacher, Klee was encouraged to pursue a career as a violinist. Against his family’s wishes, he decided to pursue a career in art, and attended the Munich Academy in 1900. After completing his courses there, Klee traveled to Italy, studying classical architecture, sculpture and the frescoes of Pompeii. Returning to Berne, the artist began to explore a wide range of styles, techniques and media using innovative materials. Klee drew inspiration for his paintings from music, literature and nature. His works exhibit such diversity that they are impossible to categorize as a single style. In 1911, Klee’s work caught the attention of the leading avant-garde group of German Expressionists, Der Blaue Reiter, and he was invited to join their ranks and participate in their exhibitions. At the request of Walter Gropius, Klee began teaching at the Bauhaus where his friend Kandinsky was a faculty member. In 1933 he was forced to resign his position by the Nazi regime, which labeled his work "degenerate art" and removed his paintings from German museums. He returned to Berne, and shortly thereafter developed scleroderma, the disease that caused his death. An extraordinarily prolific artist, Klee produced over 8,000 works during his lifetime. Regarded as one of the major theoreticians of Abstract art, Klee had a profound impact on the development of contemporary art.