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 focused nature of The Golden Twenties: Portraits and Figure Paintings by Joseph Kleitsch continues the Pasadena Museum of California Art's mission to present the breadth of California art and design through exhibitions that explore the cultural dynamics and influences that are unique to California. Like other PMCA projects, the specificity of this exhibition reveals a vital aspect of California art in need of further exploration and facilitates a move complete understanding of the art and culture of the state. 

This catalog for The Golden Twenties is by curator Dr. Patricia Trenton, with a forward from former PMCA Executive Director Jenkins Shannon.

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