Heinrich Kley (born 1863 in Karlsruhe, died 1945 or 1952 in Munich(?)) was a German caricaturist, editorial cartoonist and painter.Kley studied "practical arts" at the Karlsruhe Akademie and finished his studies in Munich. His early works were conventional portraits, landscapes, still lifes, city scenes and historical paintings. From about 1892 he won a reputation as an "industry artist", painting manufacturing scenes in oils and watercolors. They proved his deep understanding of the modern machine world. Kley attained greater notoriety with his sometimes darkly humorous pen drawings, published in Jugend and the notorious Simplicissimus.Here are a few very excellent places to view Kley's wonderfully mischevious illustrations:
The date of Kley's death is uncertain. Rumors initially suggested his demise in the early 1940's. According to some authorities Kley died on August 2, 1945; others place the time of death on February 8, 1952. This confusion might have amused the artist, who was drawn to the demonic and absurd in man.
Cartoonist Joe Grant was well aware of Kley's work and introduced his drawings to Walt Disney, who built an extensive private collection. A number of early Disney productions, notably Fantasia, reveal Kley's inspiration.