Artist Profile

Joseph Kleitsch


In his teens in Hungary, Joseph Kleitsch was apprenticed to a sign painter, but he left after a short time to open a portrait studio. Although essentially self-taught, he quickly earned a reputation as a gifted portraitist. Around 1901, he immigrated to Germany and then to the United States, living for short periods in Ohio, Colorado, Kansas, and Mexico. Around 1909, he moved to Chicago. There he was active with various arts organizations and clubs and received high praise for his works, which now included landscapes.

In 1920, Kleitsch moved to Southern California, establishing residency in Laguna Beach. He was already acquainted with artists who had preceded him, such as Edgar Payne. Kleitsch was a bold colorist and employed a bravura brushstroke. He continued with his portrait work, as well as still lifes, landscapes, and seascapes. He held a deep affection for Laguna Beach and vowed to make many paintings of the community and its environs, very much aware that the charm of the small town would soon succumb to real estate development.



Works in Our Collection

Joseph Kleitsch
Portrait of Nelson Griffith
Oil on canvas, 1922
40 x 36 inches
Gift of Ida Griffith Hawley and Charles C. Hawley

Joseph Kleitsch
Portrait of Robert Fullonton
Oil on canvas, 1921
40 x 34 inches
Gift of Marjory Adams Darling

Joseph Kleitsch
The Old Post Office
Oil on canvas, 1922-23
40 x 34 inches
Gift of the Estate of Joseph Kleitsch in memory of his wife Edna

Joseph Kleitsch
The Artist
Oil on canvas, 1907
30 x 25 inches
Museum purchase with funds provided in part from Janet Barker Spurgeon and John Roger Barker