Hungarian born painter Joseph Kleitsch was known as "a master of gorgeous color". He traveled widely in Europe and Mexico where he painted portraits of prominent citizens during the Mexican revolution. In 1920 he arrived in Laguna Beach and was immediately captivated by the area where he established the Kleitsch Academy and maintained a studio for the remainder of his life.
Inspired by the magnificent local scenery, Kleitsch became an avid Plein air painter, interpreting the streets and shores of Laguna Beach in a series of lyrical pictures which were an inspiration to the other artists of the growing Laguna art community. Art critic Antony Anderson said of him; "Kleitsch has discovered more loveliness in Laguna than any other artist".
Until his untimely death in Santa Ana at age 46, Kleitsch was celebrated as one of Southern California's foremost painters producing images filled with sparkling color and vigor of form. His paintings won numerous awards nation-wide and his honesty and dignity endeared him to all who were fortunate enough to know him.