Joseph Kleitsch (1882-1931), “San Juan Capistrano,” 1923, oil on canvas, 22 x 26 3/4 inches, Private Collection

In this ongoing series for Fine Art Today, we take a longer look at the history and features of a soon-to-be-available artwork of note. This week we feature one of several outstanding American Impressionist landscapes available soon via Swann Galleries.

Swann Galleries in New York can barely wait to kick off its annual sale of American Art on June 15. This year, Swann has seen several blockbuster consignments to the gallery for this sale, among them a brilliant landscape by California Impressionist Joseph Kleitsch (1882-1931). Born in Hungary, Kleitsch immigrated to the United States in 1902, eventually taking up residence in such vibrant cities as Cincinnati, Denver, and Chicago. However, it was Kleitsch’s migration to the West Coast, particularly Laguna Beach, that proved to be the most important move, as he eventually became one of California’s most influential and important Impressionists.

“Laguna Beach was an epicenter of California Impressionism — a regional school of American Impressionism of en plein air painting, mostly practiced by expatriate Europe artists, living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California,” Swann Galleries reports. “The unspoiled, undeveloped coastline of Laguna Beach attracted many of these artists, who started a number of different local artist organizations, including the Laguna Beach Art Association (Kleitsch even opened his own school, the Kleitsch Academy, with his wife). Although he continued to paint portraits (he was an in-house portraitist for the esteemed Stendahl Gallery, Los Angeles), it was in Laguna where Kleitsch discovered his passion for landscape painting.”

Painted in 1923, “San Juan Capistrano” is a fantastic reflection of Kleitsch’s admiration for the jewel-toned colors and rich textures that abound in Southern California. From a perch in the shade, viewers find themselves presented with myriad colors from a tree. Vines drape and hang from the trunk and are filled with purples, oranges, greens, and blues. Just beyond are the sunbaked dunes of San Juan Capistrano.

Auction estimates are between $100,000 and $150,000. To learn more, visit Swann Galleries.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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