The Golden Twenties: Portraits and Figure Paintings by Joseph Kleitsch

The career of Joseph Kleitsch (1882–1931) is often categorized into two parts: his early work as a portraitist in his native Hungary and in Chicago and his impressionist landscapes painted in California during his later years. However, Kleitsch continued to paint figurative works after his move to California in 1920 and was considered the premiere portrait painter in the artist’s haven of Laguna Beach until his untimely death in 1931. The Golden Twenties is the first museum exhibition to assemble Kleitsch’s remarkable portraits and figure paintings. With a jewel-toned palette influenced by his native Hungary and a lighter, golden palette developed after his arrival in California, the works demonstrate the artist’s exceptional ability to reveal the unique personality, demeanor, and essence of each subject.

The Golden Twenties: Portraits and Figure Paintings by Joseph Kleitsch is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art and curated by California scholar, writer, and curator Patricia Trenton, PhD. A 137-page hardcover catalogue accompanies the exhibition. Published by the PMCA, the catalogue features 64 full-color images and an essay and catalogue entries by Dr. Trenton.

The exhibition and catalogue are supported by the PMCA Board of Directors; the PMCA Ambassador Circle; Lead Patrons Earlene and Herbert Seymour; Presenting Patrons Christine and Reed Halladay; Underwriting Patrons Simon K. Chiu, Lori and Jeff Hyland, Bob and Arlene Oltman, and Anonymous; Benefactor Patrons Yvonne Boseker and Gail and Peter Ochs; Sustaining Patrons Bram and Sandra Dijkstra, Michael Feddersen, Penny and Jay Lusche, Gayle and Ed Roski, Irene and George Stern, and Anonymous; and Contributing Patrons Susan and Robert Ehrlich, Jerrold and Judith Felsenthal, Thomas and Jane Glover, Eric Jessen, Joyce and Tom Leddy, Tobey Moss and Allen Moss, Mel and Betty Sembler, Carol and Cliff Trenton, and Ruth Westphal. Additional support is provided by Bonhams Fine Art Auctions, The Redfern Gallery, and a generous grant from the Historical Collections Council of California Art.

Related Programs

  • PMCA 1234: Free Fourth Wednesday Wee-Read

    Wednesday, July 26, 2017 | 10:30am–11:30am

    Living in the Land Get a lay of the land! First, take a look at all the different landscapes in Joseph Kleitsch’s paintings and Gustave Baumann’s prints. After listening to stories about traveling and searching in the Project Room, create new landscapes. Layer colored… Read more

  • PMCA 1234: First Free Friday

    Friday, August 4, 2017 | 12:00pm–5:00pm

    Enjoy free admission all day during Free First Friday! Presented as part of our PMCA 1234 monthly programming. NO RSVP REQUIRED. Banner Image: Joseph Kleitsch, Miss Ketchum [detail], c. 1918. Oil on canvas, 42 x 36 inches. Private Collection

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The Golden Twenties: Portraits and Figure Paintings by Joseph Kleitsch

By Dr. Patricia Trenton with forward by Jenkins Shannon