Paul Klee Center

My good friend and colleague of many years, Richard Dawson, passed away peacefully at his home in Bern on the morning of November 5th, 2007, just after preparing his latest – and what would be his last – contribution to Switzerland in Sound: Letter From Switzerland.

Dick’s following contribution – produced in August 2005 – is a tribute to his professionalism and his devotion to culture. BZ


There’s no doubt that one of the most important Swiss and international cultural events in recent years was the opening of the Paul Klee Center in the Swiss capital, Bern, on June 20th, 2005.

Designed by the Italian architect, Renzo Piano, the Center consists of three hangar-like buildings at the side of a main highway at the edge of town, housing more than 4,000 of Klee’s paintings, as well as a concert auditorium, reflecting the fact that Paul Klee was a multi-talent with a great love for music, in addition to painting, teaching and philosophy.

The Center was financed by the foundation created by Professor Maurice Müller of Bern, the world-renown orthopedic surgeon and pioneer of the hip replacement technique.

Paul Klee was born near Bern in December, 1879 and spent half of his life in Switzerland. But he was technically German, having had a German father. It’s ironic that Klee’s application for Swiss citizenship was finally approved, but only after his death in June, 1940.

SIS cultural affairs correspondent, Richard Dawson, visited the Paul Klee Center, where he had a chat with its vice-director, Ursina Barandun. Afterwards, Richard told Bob Zanotti what he saw, and about the Swiss artistic scene in general.

NB For copyright reasons, we are unable to display pictures of Klee’s work. However, a considerable number of them are viewable at Google Images.