Pick Of The Galleries: Edinburgh highlights

Paul Klee | <i>National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh;</i> Jon Schueler | <i>Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh </i>
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The Independent Online

Paul Klee It is hard to dislike Paul Klee's art. From his tiny scratchy abstract drawings to his spidery images of circus performers, angels and beasties set in coloured hazes, his world is a dreamy, positive one. He managed to balance serious intent with a consummate lightness of touch and visual economy that no artist has since matched. His is a strange double world that lives in the mind of adult and child alike, filled with fantasy and fun.

Paul Klee It is hard to dislike Paul Klee's art. From his tiny scratchy abstract drawings to his spidery images of circus performers, angels and beasties set in coloured hazes, his world is a dreamy, positive one. He managed to balance serious intent with a consummate lightness of touch and visual economy that no artist has since matched. His is a strange double world that lives in the mind of adult and child alike, filled with fantasy and fun.

"The Private Klee", 130 works from the largest collection in private hands, was started by Hanni Burgi, an enterprising woman who bought from the artist well before he became the prime target of ridicule in the Nazis' Degenerate Art exhibition in 1937. It is a unique collection, not just because it charts Klee's entire career, but also because it shows an independent spirit who saw art as a lifelong friendship, a love affair, a journey to be shared with others, in a way that no public collection of his work could offer.

Klee was never part of an "ism" but you can see bits of Expressionism here, bits of Surrealism there. He had absorbed the Blue Rider Group's love of children's art, and had utilised Bauhaus's exploration of order and clean structured form, but remained his own man. He was an artist of great precision - he could have been an accountant if not an artist.

He was a systematic artist and kept his drawings from the very beginning. These were ordered, dated and noted down in a diary. There is one of these here he did aged five - a study of women and children, that is so anatomically impressive, a child of 10 could have done it. Klee also loved perspective. These floating masses are not as random as might first appear. It is all part of his wish to order his fantastical world in a neat, workable framework.

Despite the otherworldliness of his imagery, where figures and shapes float and hover, Klee's art was intimate and personal. Wrapped in Gloom a small, jewel-like abstract in which pointillist dots shimmer and jostle for space, was given to Burgi in 1934 after she had a stroke. It is a strange image, a pictorial description of unsteady energy, echoing the unpredictable state of mind and body. She subsequently wrote to him saying his picture had made her feel better. Klee was the first empathetic modern artist. His art reached out to its audience. He was good at getting the balance right.

Looking at the works here you sense that Klee was sincere and kindly, as if his art were his children. He certainly enjoyed the process of painting: he made his own brushes and pencils and had special names for them - Judas, Rigoletto, Robert the Devil. Sometimes you wonder if he thought about the state of politics around him. While his contemporaries, like Otto Dix, were satirising the political state of Germany with vicious bite, Klee preferred the escapism of his gentle but seductive imagination.

Paul Klee: National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (0131 624 6200), to 22 October

Jon Schueler The American painter Jon Schueler liked to talk about energy and struggle. He would talk about "the unsatisfied hand", that had driven Goya and the artist's struggle that had pushed Van Gogh. Energy and activity charac-terised everything that Schueler did.

Judging by his work at the Ingleby Gallery, you would think otherwise, such is the serenity and calm of these land and seascape paintings. Schueler, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, started painting to keep his wife company while they lived in LA. Previously he had seen himself as a writer, but it was the tutorship of Richard Diebenkorn and Clifford Still in San Francisco that was to change his route. Still introduced him to late Turner which was to open up a whole new world of painterly possibilities. It was an exciting time for an ambitious young artist. Before long he had met Rothko, Newman and Kline. He was featured in Life magazine and got picked up by Leo Castelli Gallery.

Despite the fact that his work raided that of his older peers, he was hot. But it was a trip to Scotland that was to bring out Schueler's own style. Soon he found Mallaig on the Sound of Sleat and painted scores of canvases in a matter of months. "It is only the sky that I believe in totally," he said.

He was well suited there, the storm of people that fuelled his imagination in New York was mirrored in the storm of the elements. He returned there often. Clouds feature strongly in his near abstract works, not the tough swirls of Constable's meticulous observation, but expansive Turneresque washes. Sometimes his vision is powerful, sometimes it's a bit too nebulous. There were personal influences at work, too. During the war he had been a navigator in a B17 bomber. Here, far up in the sky, he said he would forget where he was.

But those times had also affected him deeply. He had seen friends and colleagues shot down. It made him deeply aware of a sense of loss, which you sense in his work. "My paintings are a search for a requiem," he said.

Jon Schueler: Ingelby Gallery, Edin-burgh (0131 556 4441), to 9 September

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