Joseph Kleitsch (1882-1931) The Oriental Shop (or The Jade Shop) 32 1/4 x 26 1/4in overall: 40 1/2 x 34 3/4in (Painted in 1925)

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Lot 47
Joseph Kleitsch
The Oriental Shop (or The Jade Shop) 32 1/4 x 26 1/4in overall: 40 1/2 x 34 3/4in

Sold for US$ 912,500 inc. premium
Joseph Kleitsch (1882-1931)
The Oriental Shop (or The Jade Shop)
signed and dated 'JOSEPH KLEITSCH 1925' (lower right), stamped 'Kleitsch' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
32 1/4 x 26 1/4in
overall: 40 1/2 x 34 3/4in
Painted in 1925


  • Provenance
    1953 Estate Sale, #61 (as 'Orientale')
    Pearl Martin, South Laguna, California.
    Evelyn Moodey, Newport Beach, California, 1972 (Pearl Martin's niece).
    With Petersen Galleries, Beverly Hills, California, 1982.
    Dr. and Mrs. Marvin Kantor, Whittier, California, 1983.
    To the present owner.

    Janet Blake Dominik, Early Artists in Laguna Beach: The Impressionists, Laguna Beach, 1986, pl. 46, p. 35 (full page color illustration), p. 100.
    Patricia Trenton, California Light 1900 – 1930, Laguna Beach, 1990, pl. 153, p. 146 (full page color illustration), p. 190.
    William H. Gerdts, All Things Bright & Beautiful, California Paintings from The Irvine Museum, Irvine, 1998, pl. 32, p. 65 (full page color illustration).
    Patricia Trenton, Joseph Kleitsch: A Kaleidoscope of Color, Irvine, 2007, p. 34 (full page color detail); pl. 87, p. 110 (black and white illustration of original composition); pl. 88, p. 111 (full page color illustration).
    Patricia Trenton, The Golden Twenties: Portraits and Figure Paintings by Joseph Kleitsch, Pasadena, 2017, pp. 66-67 (full page color illustration).

    Stendahl Galleries, listed as 'Orientale Interior' #1455, September 10, 1925 (Stendahl Archives).
    Laguna Beach, Laguna Art Museum, Early Artists in Laguna Beach: The Impressionists, September 23 - November 5, 1986, no. 46.
    Laguna Beach, Laguna Art Museum; Sacramento, Crocker Art Museum; Memphis, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Montclair, New Jersey, Montclair Art Museum, California Light 1900 - 1930, traveling exhibition, 1990 – 1991.
    Irvine, The Irvine Museum; Athens, Georgia Museum of Art, Charleston, Gibbes Museum of Art; Jacksonville, Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens; Sacramento, Crocker Art Museum, California Impressionists: A presentation of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, organized by the Georgia Museum of Art and The Irvine Museum,, traveling exhibition, 1996 - 1998.
    Irvine, The Irvine Museum, Majestic California: Prominent Artists of the Early 1900's, September 9, 2006 – January 13, 2007.
    Irvine, The Irvine Museum, All Things Bright & Beautiful, Paintings from The Irvine Museum, traveling exhibition, 2008-2009.
    Irvine, The Irvine Museum, All Things Bright and Beautiful, The National Tour Comes Home, November 10, 2010 - June 11, 2011.
    Irvine, The Irvine Museum, Lasting Impressions: Twenty Years of the Irvine Museum, January 26 – June 6, 2013.
    Irvine, The Irvine Museum, Masterpieces of California Art, October 15, 2016 - January 19, 2017.
    Pasadena, Pasadena Museum of California Art, The Golden Twenties: Portraits and Figure Paintings by Joseph Kleitsch, March 5, 2017 – August 6, 2017.

    The years 1921 through 1925 were productive for the Hungarian-born and trained Joseph Kleitsch. He explored Southern California and motored to the San Francisco Bay area. His restless nature, perceptive eye, and an appetite for color were fulfilled by the countless opportunities to paint and record. In 1922 Kleitsch signed an exclusive contract for Southern California with Stendahl Galleries, insuring timely exhibitions and giving him ample and favorable exposure from the media. On the first day of 1921, the gallery was located in the newly built Ambassador Hotel, which soon became the social center of Los Angeles.

    As early as 1918, color and pattern began to emerge as an essential part of Kleitsch's compositions. These elements emerge even more clearly in his California pictures where he seems to return to the spirit of Hungarian painting. In 1916, the reviewer Christian Brinton described Hungarian paintings from the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco as possessing 'a marked degree of rhythm and a rich, vibrant harmony rarely if ever encountered elsewhere...In each [painting] you meet the same deep-rooted race spirit, the same love of vivid chromatic effect, the same fervid lyric passion'. It is within these Hungarian roots that Kleitsch's interpretation of plein-air painting was formed.

    Kleitsch first painted an earlier version of the present painting in 1922, also titled 'The Oriental Shop'. It incorporates many of the same objects as in the present work, both of which were painted from inside G.T. Marsh & Company, an Asian import shop that was in the Ambassador Hotel. The earlier version shows two seated women instead of one, and has a more muted palette. By the second version, three years later, the artist has emboldened his palette and condensed the focus into an almost abstract cavalcade of deep red and blue color. The seated woman, perhaps his wife Edna, is almost incidental to the multicolored decorations and patterning that dazzles the eye with a galaxy of color and profusion in the decorative objects. Employing the entire color spectrum, the artist gives the painting the opulence of movie palaces of the 1910s and 1920s. The brushstrokes of the clothing create soft, natural folds and the bridging of many colors that look like scintillating flickers skipping off fabric, as light dances on water. Kleitsch employs a tilted perspective to draw the eye back to the impressionistic, light-filled windows revealing figures passing by in the arcade, reminiscent of the Tiffany windows of the 1920s.

    In February of 1926, Kleitsch travelled to Europe to complete several commission requests. Upon his return, perhaps as a result of honing his eye in the great museum and galleries of Europe, he altered several of his paintings in size. Originally titled 'Oriental Interior', this painting was one that Kleitsch reduced from a horizontal to a vertical canvas. In an effort to resolve the composition, it appears that the artist chose to eliminate the profusion and jumble of drapery on the left side of the original version and tighten the view into the shop, forcing the viewer to concentrate on the scene in an entirely new way.

    We wish to thank Dr. Patricia Trenton for her kind assistance with cataloging the lot.
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