As our blog series on the many facets of Paul Klee continues, curator Matthew Gale takes a pause to celebrate the man himself on what would have been the artist’s 134th birthday

Detail Paul Klee, Obstbergweg 6, Bern, 1897, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, Donation Family Klee

Detail Paul Klee, Obstbergweg 6, Bern, 1897, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, Donation Family Klee

© Klee-Nachlassverwaltung, Bern

Klee was born 134 years ago on 18 December 1879. He came from a generation that would shape the modern world. Albert Einstein (who published the Theory of Relativity in Bern in 1905) was born in March 1879, Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in 1880 and 1881 respectively.

Anni Albers told the story of the celebrations at the Bauhaus for Klee’s fiftieth birthday in 1929 (as recounted in Nicholas Fox Weber’s In The Bauhaus Group: Six Masters of Modernism). Hiring a Junkers aeroplane, manufactured locally in Dessau, she and other students parachuted an angel-shaped package of gifts onto the roof of Klee’s house. Much as inspiration seemed to fall from the sky, so did praise; one collector at the time simply called him ‘our greatest German artist.’

Happy Birthday, Paul Klee.

Next week: Q is for… quantity

The EY Exhibition: Paul Klee: Making Visible is at Tate Modern from 16 October 2013 – 9 March 2014