Klee began his early life predominantly as a promising musician (American Ansel Adams famously chose photography over music due to financial concerns). Not content to stick to one discipline, Klee soon started exploring poetry and art. In 1898 Klee began studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, a path that would lead him to become one of the century's leading masters.
Following a trip to Tunisia in 1914, Klee was inspired to use light, form, and imagery to explore his artistic palette. From 1921-31 Klee, along with Wassily Kandinsky, taught in the Bauhaus School of Art, Design and Architecture, and also toured the USA giving lectures and describing the new artistic movements.
Along with other artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Marc Chagall, and Piet Mondrian, Klee spearheaded such movements as Expressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism.
Painted in 1930, Ad Marginem was produced using water colours on primed cardboard. Crystals, plants, and animals emerge from the borders of the painting as if draw in by the central figure of the warm red sun.
The dream-like figures are a mix of geometric shapes and organic forms. It is part child-like vision, and part poetic conversation between the dominating figure of the sun, and the much more subtle aspects of nature encroaching at the borders.
Otherwise know as On The Edge, Ad Marginem uses the abstract shapes and forms to represent marginalisation and melancholia. After returning to Switzerland in 1933, Klee continued to work on Ad Marginem with further feelings of introspection and ennui.
A testament to his influential work in Expressionism and Abstract art, Ad Marginem is a perfect example of what made Paul Klee a leading light in the various movements of art he helped to create.