Joseph Kleitsch

American, 1885 - 1931
Joseph Kleitsch was born in Banat, Hungary on June 6, 1881. Kleitsch began painting at age seven and was awarded a scholarship by his village to study art. He continued his training in Budapest, Munich and Paris. By age 17 he was an accomplished portraitist with such clients as Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria. Travelling to Mexico in 1910, he was the official portraitist to President Madero while in that country. Kleitsch painted the likeness of many prominent citizens of Chicago while studying at the Art Institute of Chicago. Upon moving to California in 1920, he settled in Laguna Beach and, with his wife Edna, established the Kleitsch Academy. He taught there and was active in the local art scene while exhibiting in Los Angeles at the Hatfield Galleries. Trips were made to San Francisco, Carmel and Europe in search of subject matter. Inspired by the local scenery, he could often be seen in and around Laguna Beach painting the beautiful coastline, street scenes with figures, gardens with flowers in bloom and landscapes. Kleitsch died of a heart attack on November 16, 1931. A memorial exhibition of his works was held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1933.

Biography courtesy of DeRu's Fine Arts,
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