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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Joseph Kleitsch at the Pasadena Museum of California Art

Joseph Kleitsch; who the heck is he? Most of us have never heard his name before. I sure hadn't. He was born in Hungry and immigrated to the US at the turn of the last century. He lived in Denver (who knew?), Cincinnati and settled in Chicago by 1912. He was a very well known portrait painter and made a decent living at it. I have included some portraits for that reason. He was called to California to do a few portraits of Hollywood starlets, and after enjoying the warm climate there, moved to Laguna Beach in 1920. (He became friends with Edgar Payne) There, he started to do landscapes, and noticing how fast Laguna Beach was changing, started to document those changes. He also loved painting the Missions of the area. After his untimely death in 1931 he was largely forgotten. This is the first exhibit of his works since his death. So happy that he has come to light again.

The Pasadena Museum of California Art has no permanent collection. It holds exhibits of artists who lived and/or painted in California. This show is up through August 6. A must see if you are in the LA area. The icing on this cake was that there was a second show, on Gustave Baumann, as well. I have always liked his work but have rarely seen his prints in person. The exhibit included some of his wood blocks and print proofs. That may be its own post. Stay tuned!
I particularly love the painting above; the commentary on it was that this could be his wife, but more than likely is an 'amour' from his stay in France. No matter; it is a a beautiful tribute not only to her but what a stunning view of the reflected windows and into the room as well.
Another one I liked; Who knows if she is looking at a portrait of herself or if she is evaluating her own work? It is so graphically pleasing overall and I like the color harmony. Joseph's use of windows to frame his subjects was evident in a number of his works.
I cannot remember who this gentleman is. But he looks like a banker. I liked the look on his face.
This is a detail of an early self-portrait of the artist. Who could resist those blue eyes? The commentary said you could tell by his portraits of women that he held them captive with his charm and good looks.

Another early painting from his time in Paris. Not his normal subject but I thought the composition particularly interesting.
 Here is one of his scenes from Laguna Beach. Notice what seems to be dirt streets. This is a crop of the scene. Below is another closer in view to see how he showed how bustling Laguna Beach was becoming in the late 1920's. And a third, closer detail below that one. I noticed a number of loosely, almost nude appearing females in his paintings of Laguna Beach. His later works did get looser with more paint texture.

Last but by no means least, another stunning portrait using the window to frame his subject.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting fellow, thanks. Here is a nice collection of his work -- -

victoriasart said...

I realized looking at the link, that the portrait I thought was a self portrait is actually a fellow artist, Robert Fullorton. Oops. that is what I get for relying on memory vs taking a photo of the tag as well.