Joseph Kleitsch Oil Painting, ca. 1925

Value (2014) | $500,000 Retail
Watch  

APPRAISER:
You've brought in a very interesting painting by the artist Joseph Kleitsch, and I understand you know a fair amount about him.

GUEST:
He lived and worked in southern California from around 1920 to the mid 1930s. And I lived in Laguna Beach then, I grew up there, and this is a picture of the way the town looked at that time.

APPRAISER:
Oh my goodness. So this is probably done in the early 1920s, would you judge?

GUEST:
I would say toward the late '20s or '30s.

APPRAISER:
How did your family acquire it?

GUEST:
My father knew him, and unfortunately, he passed away, but my father and mother knew his widow, and they did buy it from his widow.

APPRAISER:
What year would that have been?

GUEST:
That was 1939.

APPRAISER:
Well, that's perfect provenance, going right from the artist's wife to your family. Joseph Kleitsch was actually born in Hungary, and he studied in Budapest, Paris and Munich, and he was quite accomplished. Even at the age of 17, he was doing major portraits and painted the portrait of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria. He comes to the United States in 1901 and ends up going to Chicago, where he teaches at the Art Institute. And all the while, he seemed to be painting mostly portraits. But when he moves to California around 1920 and he moves to Laguna Beach, he finds that he's infatuated with the countryside, with the town, with the townspeople, with the ocean, and so he documents what he sees. And here we have, as the label on the back indicates, this is a drugstore in Laguna Beach. He also travels to northern California, and by the late 1920s, he also spent some time in Europe. He comes back to the United States by 1931 and passes away at the age of 49, so he was quite young, and therefore, his works are fairly rare. He was considered one of the premier California impressionists, and you can see how wonderful this painting is, with the beautiful light. He was known as a colorist, and it has some wonderful bravura, or flourishing brushwork. And this is an oil on canvas. Now, when your parents bought the painting, how much did they pay?

GUEST:
They paid $100.

APPRAISER:
$100?

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
Although the market in general for this kind of painting has fallen off in the last ten years, his market has remained the same. If this were in a gallery, most likely in California, although his work is collected elsewhere, a gallery price would be $500,000.

GUEST:
Oh, really? That's quite nice to know.

APPRAISER:
Yes! When we saw the painting, we were all very excited, so it's a pleasure to be able to talk about it.

GUEST:
Oh, it's certainly all my pleasure. (laughs)

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Debra Force Fine Art, Inc.
Debra Force Fine Art, Inc.
New York, NY
Appraised value (2014)
$500,000 Retail
Event
New York, NY (August 09, 2014)

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