Wilhelm Worringer’s thesis Empathy and Abstraction (1907) had a big influence on Klee’s views on abstract art. The thesis hypothesized that abstract art came about during a time of war. About three months after Paul returned from Tunis, World War I broke out.
Even though he was called to duty in 1916, he was not posted at the front line. Meanwhile, he was successful financially, especially after a large Berlin exhibition in Der Sturm Gallery.
The artist was quite reserved in his opinions regarding the war. However, in November 1918 he did not hesitate to accept a position on the Executive Committee of Revolutionary Artists when a communist government was declared in Munich. Soon thereafter the November Revolution failed and Paul returned to Switzerland.
The Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar invited Klee to teach in 1920 and he accepted. The Bauhaus was a very influential school of industrial design and architecture that strived to provide students with a foundation in all of the visual arts.
He taught at the institution for 10 years, moving with the Bauhaus to Dessau from Weimar in 1925. Klee painted stained glass and taught workshops in book binding. His series of detailed lectures on visual form were responsible for gauging his influence as a teacher.
Klee left the Bauhaus in 1930 to go to the art academy in Dusseldorf, but this short period of calm came to an end on 30th January, 1933, when Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany.
The artist was denounced as a ‘cultural Bolshevik’ and a ‘Galician Jew’, while his work was derided as ‘insane’ and ‘subversive’. His Dessau home was searched, and he was dismissed from his teaching position in April 1933. In December, Klee and his wife returned to Berne.