Kathleen Swaydan on Kleitsch @ PMCA

Apr 17, 2017

I’m back with a review of a dynamic exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

Joseph Kleitsch (1882-1931), featured in this exhibit is shown above in a 1915 self-portrait (age 33).  Originally from Hungary, Kleitsch immigrated to the United States in the early years of the twentieth century and lived in Chicago until 1920 when he settled in Laguna Beach.

Before leaving Chicago, Kleitsch was an acclaimed portrait artist commissioned by a variety of wealthy patrons both here and abroad including well known actresses such as Ruth Renick whose portrait hangs in the exhibit. He also spent time in Mexico, which may be where he developed an interest in mission architecture.


Joseph Kleitsch, Under the Eucalyptus Trees, 1922. Edna Kleitsch, the artist’s wife in her iconic red jacket.


The mission at San Juan Capistrano is a lovely backdrop to a number of his California paintings. After becoming an established painter in Laguna Beach, his focus transferred to landscape in the plein air style.  His early death in 1931 (age 49) cut short a flourishing career. The exhibit—”The Golden Twenties: Portraits and Figure Paintings by Joseph Kleitsch”—will be on view until August 2017 (a rather long time) allowing us to visit this amazing body of work several times.


Joseph Kleitsch, Enchantment, 1922. Edna Kleitsch contemplating a tide pool.


Pasadena Museum of California Art
490 E. Union St., Pasadena 91101
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m.
Admission: $7, adults; $5, seniors & students
1st Fridays (noon-5 p.m.), free; 3rd Thursdays (5-8 p.m.), free
Ph: 1.626.568.3665


Kathleen Swaydan, Two Pear, 2010.


Kathleen Swaydan was raised in South Pasadena. Her interest in drawing and painting started at an early age and was influenced by her grandmother, who was a talented, self-taught painter. In 1994, Kathleen returned to school to study fine art and art history and earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees one in Art with an emphasis in painting and drawing, the other in Art History both from the University of Southern California. She also earned a Master of Arts degree in Italian Renaissance Art History from Syracuse University, New York. Since completing her MA in 2003, she has focused on making art.


Kathleen Swaydan, Pomegranate, 2013.


Swaydan is a member of the California Art Club, College Arts Association, Pasadena Society of Artists , and Verdugo Hills Art Association. Her artwork has been in solo exhibits at Morpork Gallery in Highland Park and at the Jamison Gallery in Sierra Madre, and in group exhibitions at The Brand Library in Glendale, McGinty Gallery in Altadena, Jamison Gallery in Sierra Madre, and Segil Fine Art Gallery in Monrovia; in addition, she participates in a variety of local art fairs.


Kathleen Swaydan.


Kathleen Swaydan, Fig, 2011.


Kathleen Swaydan, Onions, 2012.







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