Fleischer Museum
American Collection of Impressionism
The California School


Born in Hungary, Joseph Kleitsch was an internationally successful portrait painter before coming to the United States sometime around 1914. He settled in Chicago where he continued to paint portraits as well as teach and exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, from 1914 to 1919.

In 1920, Kleitsch moved to Laguna Beach. Impressed by the natural beauty and idyllic charm of the small village, he began to paint views of Laguna Beach and landscapes of its environs. These paintings are noteworthy in capturing the various moods of the picturesque community and preserve with touching nostalgia a way of life which has passed with modern times.

From 1926 to 1929, Kleitsch toured Europe, staying in Paris and painting in Giverny, the small town where Claude Monet had made his home. He returned to his native Hungary and later, in 1929, painted in Spain.

Kleitsch's style is a unique approach to Impressionism with a freshness and fluidity of paint application. His landscapes are vivid and he captured the bright clear light of the coast with acute facility. His views of Laguna Beach are realistic portrayals of the streets and houses, yet sometimes they are peopled with classically posed groups of passers-by as though in a curious stage-like setting. His portraits are truly remarkable for their life-like appearance and deeply emotive presence.

One of the stalwart members of the Laguna Beach Art Association, Kleitsch received numerous awards during his life for both his landscapes and figure paintings.

Evening at Laguna, 16" x 20" O/C