After visiting Southern California on a family trip, Joseph Kleitsch and his wife Edna decided to make the state their permanent home. They moved to Laguna Beach in 1920 and lived in a cottage above the Old Laguna Hotel, which became a subject for many of his paintings. Kleitsch quickly became involved with the Laguna Beach Art Association that was founded by his friend and contemporary Edgar Payne. The area was a haven for artists and the association was essential in introducing Kleitsch’s art to his new community.

The varied landscape and seascape of Laguna Beach inspired Kleitsch to explore new painting styles and subjects. He was no longer confined to indoor painting, and could pursue plein air landscape painting year-round. Kletisch resided in Laguna Beach until the end of his life, and is best known for this period of his career. Employing bright and supple Impressionist color and brushstroke, his paintings are celebrated for their beauty and quality.

“…Of all the painters of Southern California none is more fluent [than] Joseph Kleitsch; by the same token he is the least fluent talker in the United States. Paint is his life and speech.”

-Arthur Miller, May 6, 1928 review of Kleitsch’s exhibition at Stendahl Art Gallery, from Patricia Trenton, Joseph Kleitsch: A Kaleidoscope of Color, p. 178