Halloween is an occasion devoted to creatures both silly and scary. You can see some of each in a new book that showcases the numerous hand puppets made by artist Paul Klee for his son, Felix.
Untitled (Self-portrait), 1922.
Thirty of these amazing and amusing creations — made by Klee between 1916 and 1925 — are still in existence and have been gathered together in “Paul Klee: Hand Puppets.” The heads and bodies are made of a wide variety of materials — plaster, meat bones, electrical parts, nutshells, bits of brushes and fur — with costumes of linen, silk, velvet, corduroy, and leather. Klee made a theatre and sets for the puppets as well.
Though not intended as art, it’s a rare artist whose talent and interests don’t figure in almost everything they do. One can easily see how these supposed toys show the influence of the art and political movements of the day.
The book looks at links with other puppets, the theatre and Klee’s sculpure. Chapters by Klee's son, Felix, and grandson, Alexander, describe how the figures were created. It’s perfect for browsing before you decide on this year’s costume.