Joseph Kleitsch (1882-1931) Portrait of William Kleitsch 40 x 30in (Painted circa 1910-1915.)

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Lot 53
Joseph Kleitsch
(1882-1931)
Portrait of William Kleitsch 40 x 30in

Sold for US$ 31,325 inc. premium
Joseph Kleitsch (1882-1931)
Portrait of William Kleitsch
unsigned
oil on canvas
40 x 30in
Painted circa 1910-1915.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    David and Sons Fine Art, Laguna Beach, California.
    Private collection, Southern California.

    Exhibited
    Pasadena, Pasadena Museum of California Art, The Golden Twenties: Portraits & Figure Paintings by Joseph Kleitsch, March 5 – August 6, 2017.

    Literature
    P. Trenton, Joseph Kleitsch: A Kaleidoscope of Color, Irvine, The Irvine Museum, 2007, pp. 62-63, pl. 29, full page color illustration.
    P. Trenton, The Golden Twenties: Portraits & Figure Paintings by Joseph Kleitsch, Pasadena, Pasadena Museum of California Art, 2017, pp. 68–69, full page color illustration.

    We are grateful to Patricia Trenton, Ph.D., Independent Art Historian/Curator, for her assistance with this essay.

    Joseph Kleitsch's keen sense of detail enabled him to capture an individual's demeanor and expression on canvas. He was unique among his peers for his bravura brushwork and for his ability to infuse the psychological nuances complimenting the outward appearances. The artist also relied on settings and props to help convey the status and personality of his sitters. In his non-commissioned portrayals of friends and relatives, individual expression and freedom of thought and action are more sharply discernible. These spontaneously rendered portraits were of people he knew well; their mannerisms and personalities were more familiar, which enabled him to personalize the paintings, such as his portrait of his cousin William Kleitsch.

    William Kleitsch is portrayed here as an attractive, sporty, self-confident individual. The painting itself reflects the physicality and strength of the sitter, who is posed as a successful businessman. The conservative suit—complete with a colorful, bold, patterned cravat and a starched, collared shirt—further reinforces his business-like demeanor, and the cigarette in his right hand speaks to his masculinity. William was a member of the Kleitsch family that settled in Cincinnati; but it is possible that the artist painted his cousin's portrait when he took his first wife, Emma, to reside there with her family just prior to his move to Mexico in 1911. William later worked in Chicago, so the portrait could have been painted there. The inscription on the back of a photograph of William with his cousins the Vollmers from Cincinnati and Joseph Kleitsch led to the identification of this unknown subject.
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