by Bob Bahr, Editor PleinAir Today

The Joseph Kleitsch painting “The Drugstore,” depicting Laguna Beach in the mid-1920s, is on view at the Irvine Museum through January 19. The rare piece was featured on the TV show “Antique Roadshow” on August 9, 2014.

Kleitsch (1882-1931) died at age 49, and only began painting his wonderful California impressionist paintings in 1920, making this large piece quite rare. “The Drugstore” depicts Rankin Drugstore, which stood at the site painted on the then-unpaved Pacific Coast Highway. Incidentally, the painting was appraised on “Antique Roadshow” at $500,000. It was purchased from the artist’s widow in 1939 for $100, and only sold once, to John and Patricia Dilks, in 2016.

“The Drugstore,” by Joseph Kleitsch, 1925, oil, 40 x 40 in. Collection of John and Patricia Dilks
“The Drugstore,” by Joseph Kleitsch, 1925, oil, 40 x 40 in. Collection of John and Patricia Dilks

“This is the most important painting by Kleitsch to have come to light, because of the subject, the size, and its unrivaled beauty,” said Jean Stern, executive director of the Irvine Museum, located in Irvine, California.

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Editor PleinAir Today, Andrew Webster
Andrew Webster is the Editor of Plein Air Today and works 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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