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This is an efficient and careful monograph that succeeds on many levels. Grohmann was Klee's biographer and longtime friend. He is respectful without being sycophantic, and thorough but never plodding. He uses a variety of source materials, including Klee's own writings (diaries and letters). Grohmann establishes Klee's lasting importance to art and to painting by asserting, "It is as though he were still among us, to be consulted on every problem of life and art." Grohmann's generous(40 pages, 58 illustrations) and lively essay on Klee is also charming and personal. It combines biography, criticism, a wealth of references, and thought-provoking appreciation. It's generously illustrated with photographs of Klee and his studio, plus ink, tusche, chalk, and pencil drawings, collage, watercolor, tempera, and oil paintings, a woodcut study, and etchings. The text that accompanies the following forty color plates (a selection of paintings) is the calm, clear art criticism that Grohmann is so good at. The plates' reproduced colors are good but not great. What's best is that Grohmann is such an able teacher. He describes each painting straightforwardly, and then asks intelligent questions, suggests answers that seem well-thought-out, and inspires one to further thought and research. His friendship with Klee gave him some additional understanding of his friend's work and lifelong passions and motives. A very worthwhile book on a great artist.
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