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Paul Klee's Cat and Bird Painting Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Paul Klee's 1928 painting Cat and Bird is a colorful take on the worries of a feline. This lesson plan introduces the painting to students and highlights key elements of the work. An activity challenges students to recreate the piece.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • describe the painting Cat and Bird in terms of artistic style and medium
  • identify key themes in the painting

Length

60 to 90 minutes

Curriculum Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.3

Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.7

Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.9

Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic.

Materials

  • A large photograph or image of Paul Klee's 1928 painting Cat and Bird
  • White heavyweight craft paper cut into 15x21 inch rectangles
  • Pencils
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Thumb tacks

Instructions

  • Begin by displaying the image of the painting Cat and Bird by Paul Klee for the class.
  • Explain that the painting was created by Paul Klee in 1928. Tell the class that the medium used by the artist to create the piece is oil and ink on gessoed canvas and that the original was 15x21 inches in size and was mounted on wood.

Discussion Questions

  • What do you see in the painting?
  • How does the painting make you feel?
  • How does the artist's use of color impact the work?
  • What is the significance of the placement of the bird?
  • Why do you think the artist chose to feature only the head of the cat rather than its entire body?
  • What does the bird represent for the cat?
  • What does the cat represent for the bird?
  • What genre of art does this painting represent?
  • What do you think the artist's overall message is in the painting?

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