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Joseph Kleitsch
(1882-1931)


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"View to the Sea, Laguna Beach"
Oil on Canvas
21 1/2 x 19 1/8 inches
c. 1920s






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Joseph Kleitsch was born in the Bánát region of Hungary, on June 6, 1881. At the age of three, his mother died. His stepmother supplied him with painting materials at an early age, and Kleitsch was quickly recognized for his artistic talents. His village awarded him a scholarship to study art in Budapest, Munich, and Paris. By the age of seventeen, he had become an accomplished portraitist with such clients as Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria.

In 1902, Kleitsch immigrated to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he established a studio. He moved again two years later, to Denver Colorado. Here, he married Emma Multner and expanded his oeuvre to include landscapes and genre painting. Emma and Joseph traveled to Mexico City from 1907-1909. Kleitsch received honor and prominence in Mexico because of a portrait commissioned by Mexican President Madero and his wife.

The two returned to the United States in 1911, and moved to Chicago. Kleitsch continued his studies at the Art Institute of Chicago, and painted likenesses of prominent Chicagoans. Emma died from nephritis in 1913.

By 1919, Kleitsch had gained recognition in Chicago as an outstanding portraitist. In 1920, Kleitsch and his new wife Edna Gregaitis moved permanently to California. They established the Kleitsch Academy in Laguna Beach. Inspired by the streets and shores of Laguna Beach, Kleitsch soon gained local acclaim. Now, he is recognized as Laguna Beach's most notable painters and early residents.

Kleitsch died of a heart attack on November 16, 1931 in Santa Ana, California.

Member: Chicago Society of Artists; Laguna Beach Art Association; Painters and Sculptors of Los Angeles (cofounder); Palette and Chisel Club.

Exhibited: Palette and Chisel Club, Chicago, Illinois and Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, 1914-19; Stendahl Galleries, Los Angeles, 1922-29; Leonard’s, Los Angeles, 1923; Biltmore Salon, Los Angeles, 1924; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Pennsylvania, 1925; Los Angeles Museum of Art, California, 1933.

Works held: Irvine Museum, California; Laguna Federal Bank Building, California; Laguna Art Museum, California; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California.

Sources:
Hughes, Edan M. Artists In California 1786-1940. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. Sacramento: Crocker, Art Museum, 2002. N. pag. 2 vols. Print.
Trenton, Patricia "Joseph Kleitsch: A Kaleidoscope of Color"