ILLINOIS HISTORICAL ART PROJECT
PAUL KELPE was born in Minden, Westphalia, Germany, in January of 1902, and studied in Hanover, Germany. He was much impressed as a youth by the work of Kandinsky, Archipenko, Klee, Feiminger, .Schmitters, Kampendonc and Chagall. In the spring of 1925 he came to the United States and traveled and painted in various parts of this country. He has exhibited in Increase Robinson's Studio Gallery, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago No-Jury Society of Artists, the New York Society of Independent Artists and in New Orleans. A one-man show of his work has been held in the Little Gallery of Chicago.
Most of my work consists of absolute or abstract painting. (I have done a few sculptures.) My work consists of plain rhythmic composition, of spaces and lines, circles, cubes, architectonic forms, and sometimes parts of machinery. The most important dogma or rule which I try to follow in my work may be put tersely in this wise: geometry made useless and transformed into colors, simplicity, order and expression. I have not been influenced greatly by any one artist, but I have been very much influenced by the whole movement of new art in Germany, within which I grew up. I do not, however, consider myself as belonging to any "school." Whether my work is a purely personal expression is a question that may be of interest to others. It is of no particular interest to me. The same holds true of the question as to whether my work is a contribution to society, an expression of the age or of any national, religious, racial group or spirit. I don't know whether my work has any relationship with anything of that sort, and I don't care. I am rather certain that my work has no bearing on any religious or political attitude. There hasn't been thus far any extensive criticism of my work; therefore, the question as to whether criticism is an influence hasn't much application to me. Neither, I feel, does the question regarding the effect of the demands of the market on one's creative efforts have much to do with me. Paul Kelpe.