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Brody, M.S. (2001). Paul Klee: Art, Potential Space And The Transitional Process. Psychoanal. Rev., 88(3):369-392.

(2001). Psychoanalytic Review, 88(3):369-392

Paul Klee: Art, Potential Space And The Transitional Process

Marta Schneider Brody, Ph.D.

Fine art is widely appreciated as one of the great achievements of humanity. In large part its value is derived from the mysterious way it affects, informs, and influences us and, in a sense, allows us to create ourselves in conversation with the work of art. Segal (1991) has observed that there is “often a feeling, both in the artist and in the recipient, that the artist not so much creates but reveals a reality. … part of the aesthetic experience has to do with a feeling of revelation of some half-perceived, apprehended truth, which is discovered not invented” (pp. 94-95). However, in a sense it was not there before we made it. How is it that the artist is able to create/reveal an aspect of reality that has never been apprehended before in quite the same manner? I will discuss several ways in which the process of painting serves as an organizer of the artist's experience by drawing on the theoretical work of D. W. Winnicott and Thomas H. Ogden. My discussion of Klee's art and writing is intended, first, to suggest ways in which newly evolving psychoanalytic constructs can contribute to our understanding of art and the artist's creative process, and second, to demonstrate, from the reverse perspective, the unique value of art for psychoanalysis. Paul Klee (1879-1940) was one of the great masters of modern art whose art and writing continue to be of influence and interest to both artists and the general public. He was a complex and multitalented individual, accomplished in painting, drawing and graphic art, teaching, and music.

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