(1903 - 1996)
Gene Kloss was active/lived in New Mexico, California / Mexico. Gene Kloss is known for painted etchings-southwest subjects.
Biography from the Archives of askART
Biography from The Owings Gallery
Born in Oakland, CA on July 27, 1903. Gene Glasier was introduced to etching by Perham Nahl at UC Berkeley where she graduated in 1924. After marrying poet Phillips Kloss in 1925, she furthered her art studies at the CSFA and CCAC. She continued spending winters in Berkeley after settling in Taos, NM in 1925. Nationally known for her etchings of Southwestern subjects, she also produced many watercolors and oils. Mrs. Kloss died in Taos on June 24, 1996.
Member: NA (1972); Calif. Society of Etchers; Calif. Society of PM; Taos AA; Philadelphia WC Club; Carmel AA.
Exh: SFAA, 1925, 1937; Berkeley League of FA, 1926 (solo); Oakland Art Gallery, 1932 (solo), 1939 (prize); SFMA Inaugural, 1935; PAFA, 1936 (medal); Calif. Society of Etchers, 1934, 1940, 1941, 1944, 1949 (prizes); GGIE, 1939; Chicago Society of Etchers, 1940-54 (prizes); Tucson FA Ass'n, 1941 (prize); Philadelphia PM Club, 1944 (prize); Library of Congress, 1946 (prize); Society of American Graphic Artists, 1953 (prize); CGA, 1988 (solo). In: MM; NY Public Library; Library of Congress; Dallas Museum; Museum of NM; Museum of Tokyo; Smithsonian Inst.; NMAA; AIC; Carnegie Inst. (Pittsburgh); PAFA; The Hague (Netherlands); CGA.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Interview with the artist or his/her family; Women Artists in America
(Collins & Opitz); American Art Annual
1925; Who's Who in American Art
1936-70; Women Artists of the American West
; Artists of the American West
(Samuels); SF Chronicle, 8-11-1935, D3; Journal of the Print World, Fall 1996 (obituary) and summer 2003; Taos News, 7-25-1996 (obituary).Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here
Gene Kloss arrived in Taos in 1925 while on a camping honeymoon trip
with her husband, poet-composer Phillip Kloss. Ms. Kloss brought with
her very little other than her 60-pound etching press. From that time
until the 1940s, Kloss spent most of the year in Taos and wintered in
Berkeley, until she and her husband settled permanently in New Mexico.
Biography from Nedra Matteucci Galleries
was born in Oakland, California in 1903 and established her reputation
on the West Coast in the 20s and 30s with several one-woman shows of
paintings and etchings in San Francisco and elsewhere. Her reputation
spread across the nation through her participation in highly successful
group shows. A writer for ArtNews wrote, "Gene Kloss is one of our most sensitive
and sympathetic interpreters of the Southwest." One critic called her a
"landscape mythic," another a "portrait psychologist," but perhaps the
highest praise came from a Taos Indian who said on looking at one of
her etchings of a pueblo interior, "Yes, that is the way it was that
night at our house."
Kloss worked predominantly in three media
etching, oil, and watercolor but is best known for her prints of New
Mexico subjects. Her etchings demonstrate an imaginative command over
the process. The prints display a power and simplicity that make
sensitive use of bold, black areas. Frequently there is a minimum of
middle tones while rather generous but strategically placed areas of
white represent New Mexico light. Despite their relatively small size,
Kloss's landscape etchings capture quite convincingly the feeling of
vast space associated with New Mexico's northern mountains. She
selectively animates the scene and dramatically calls attention to the
schism between the slightness of man and the magnitude of his natural
surroundings in the Southwest. All of Kloss's compositions are
energized by upward rising diagonals, the mark of her own affirmative
disposition and of her response to the unique Taos landscape. She would
often say, "In this country everything lifts the trees, the mountains,
The body of her works has a consistent harmony in its
balanced concern for the subject and for abstract principles of design.
"I want the finished print to enable the viewer to see the design, the
subject matter from across the room, at arm's length or under a
magnifying glass also upside-down for satisfactory abstract design."
Whether realistic or illusionistic, a Kloss is remarkably free of
detail. As a pattern of line, shape and value, her work is imbued with
the power of contrasts, the force of motion, and a grace which is
distinctly Kloss. Kloss never sketched or used a camera to record the
images she saw in the pueblos. Instead, she committed the feeling and
the event to her mind as patterns as in music. The observer in Gene
Kloss was filled with sensitivity for the subject matter and an
awareness of the musical rhythms of Indian rituals. As she proclaimed,
"There has always been a close alliance between my art and music"
Kloss etching was printed by the artist herself, and it was only in the
late 70s that she bought a power-driven massive press built to her
specifications. She was a meticulous craftswoman. She did not complete
an edition in one printing. There may be years between the concept and
the final print in an edition; yet in her inking, wiping and printing
of the etching, there is no detectable difference between prints.
Quality control of printing was essential in a Gene Kloss etching
because her handling of etching ink during the print process was akin
to painting. There are deep black areas, sharp whites as clean as fresh
paper, and a range of grays. In all the seventy years she so
successfully employed this medium, she did not once hand over the
printing process to anyone else.
In 1950, Gene Kloss was elected
an associate member of the National Academy of Design, and to full
membership in 1972. However, Kloss elected not to follow her prints on
their journeys. A true Westerner, the artist never went east of the
Mississippi River. She remained content to stay in the West, where her
remarkable career which spanned over seventy years had its source.
University of California at Berkeley; California School of Fine Arts,
San Francisco; College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland.
Media: aquatint; drypoint; etching; mezzotint; oil; watercolor
Associate Membership Award, California Society of Etchers, 1934; Eyre
Gold Medal, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1936; Henry B. Shope
Prize, Society of American Etchers, 1951; First Prize, Chicago Society
of Etchers, 1952; Purchase Prize, 1961, Print Club of Albany; Anonymous
Prize, National Academy of Design, 1961.
Adams, Clinton, Printmaking in New Mexico, 1880-1990. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1991.
Bishop, Bill and Gail, "Gene Kloss, Fifty Years in Taos," Southwest Art, March, 1975.
Nelson, Mary Carroll, "The Legendary Artists of Taos." Watson-Guptill Publications, New York, 1980
Gene Kloss was born Alice Geneva Glasier in 1903 in Oakland, California. At that time, the area was still uncluttered by billboards, lights, and bridges, but oaks still grew around the city. Kloss graduated from Berkeley in 1924. Her instructor, Perham Nahl, was astonished by her first print, and predicted that she would be an etcher. She continued to study at the San Francisco School of Fine Arts, and in 1925, married Phillips Kloss, a writer. She changed her name, for simplicity, and because she believed that a less feminine name would serve her better in the art world.
Biography from Thomas Nygard Gallery
The couple ventured west on their honeymoon. They entered New Mexico at sunset, and fell in love with the bare, beautiful, vast landscape. From that day forth, Gene Kloss said she considered herself a New Mexican. The couple established dual residence in Berkeley and Taos, and commuted each year. In Taos, they rented an old adobe house for ten dollars a month, for a decade. They cooked on a wood-burning stove, and carried water from a spring, a mile up the canyon. In the desert, Gene Kloss made prints with a secondhand Sturges etching press, weighing 1,200 pounds.
The couple kept their residence in California to care for their elderly mothers. When their two mothers died in 1965, they moved to Colorado, with the press in tow. They bought four acres above the Gunnison River. Eventually, due to allergies and gnats, they returned to their final home in Taos.
Kloss was not concerned with trends, or the financial value of art. Instead, she focused on creating beautiful depictions of the scenes she loved. She was an accomplished oil and watercolor painter, but her prints defined her career. Southwestern scenes, particularly of New Mexico, are common. Her work often contains a hidden light source, with long, sinewy shadows. Her etchings are unique and dramatic, containing high contrast as well as subtlety. During her 60 year career, Kloss created more than 600 prints.
Kloss is considered one of the most important artists of her time, as well as one of the major printmakers of the 20th century. Her work is found in many permanent collections, including the Metropolitan Museum, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, and the Carnegie Institute.
Source: Kloss, Phillips, Gene Kloss Etchings. Santa Fe: Sunstone Press, 2000.
Kloss was born Alice Geneva Glasier in Oakland California in 1903.
While growing up she was fortunate to experience the natural beauty of
California. She next found a stimulating atmosphere at Berkeley,
California where she took a seminar in etching. Her instructor was a
perfectionist draftsman and was amazed at the first print she pulled
from his huge hundred-year-old press. Enthusiastically he predicted she
would be an etcher.
Biography from Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery
Kloss graduated with honors in art from the
University of California at Berkeley in 1924. Next, she took a years
term of study at the San Francisco School of Fine Arts. In 1924 she
married Phillips Kloss, a writer and poet, and changed her name to Gene
Kloss for phonetic reasons. Together they set out to explore the
Southwest with a small etching press in their car.
dual residence was established in Taos and Berkeley. They gradually
acquired forty acres of mesa land and built an adobe home and studio
where they settled for life. Kloss found sketchable scenes everywhere.
The main objective to her work was always recording her impressions of
things she considered beautiful and important.
The mediums she
primarily worked in were oil, watercolor and copperplate etchings.
Etchings were her most prominent artistic achievement. Kloss developed
a technique in etching which she called "painting," applying acid
directly on the plate with fine Japanese brushes or pencils. This
developed a quality for which her work was known: subtle, painted
tones, grades of dark, bright halos of white that seem impossible to
achieve in her chosen medium. She has been called "one of the most
sensitive and sympathetic interpreters of the Southwest."
Kloss was productive for over fifty years. Honors include placement of
her work in permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum, Library
of Congress, Carnegie Institute, Smithsonian Institute, and San
Francisco Art Museum. In addition to being elected a member of the
National Academy of Design, she received many national awards for her
Gene Kloss (Alice Geneva Glasier) was born in 1903 in Oakland, California. She received a Bachelors Degree of Arts from the Univeristy of California, Berkeley in 1924 and studied at the California School of Fine Arts from 1924-1925. She began visiting Taos, New Mexico in 1925 with her husband, poet and composer Phillip Kloss, bringing little other than her sixty pound portable printing place, which they set in concrete near their campsite. They would spend the majority of the year in Taos, wintering in Berkeley, until they moved there permanently as year-round residents in 1945.
Biography from Annex Galleries
It was as an artistic translator of New Mexico that Kloss is best known. Though an oil and watercolor painter of some renown, it is her prints, with their high contrast and rising diagonal lines that define her career stylistically. Kloss was a meticulous tinkering, constantly trying new methods in an attempt to get exactly the effect she was trying to achieve. She developed an etching form that she called "painting", in which she painted acid directly onto the etching plate, allowing for a wide variety of tones and smooth color gradients. With this technique, she made extremely unique prints, characterized by the sharp forms of the mountains and the haloed white regions of light.
Kloss' work made her quite famous in her own lifetime, with numerous one-artist shows at major museums and pieces placed in the permanent collection of such institutions as the Metropolitan Museum, Library of Congress, Carnegie Institute and San Francisco Art Museum. She was elected a member of the National Academy of Design, was exhibited in Paris alongside Blumenschein, Sloan and O'Keefe, was included in "Fine Prints of the Year" and "100 Best Prints of the Year" on more than one occasion, and had her pieces distributed in schools in New Mexico for the WPA.
Gene Kloss, painter and printmaker, was born Alice Geneva Glasier in
Oakland, California. She studied at the University of California at
Berkeley, graduating with honors in art in 1924, and the California
School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. With the encouragement of her
professor, Perham Nahl, she began etching in 1927.
Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, III
In 1925 she married Phillips Kloss and shortened her name, adopting the
masculine form of her middle name so that her work would be viewed with
an unprejudiced eye and entry into exhibitions would not be denied
her. That same year, she first visited Taos. She and Phillips
divided their time between Berkeley and Taos, hauling her Sturges press
each way until settling permanently in Taos in 1945.
During the Depression, Kloss was a resident of Taos and made prints for
the PWAP and WPA/FAP in New Mexico and, as there was no graphic
workshop in New Mexico, she worked in her studio. S he maintained
memberships in numerous organizations including the Society of American
Etchers, Chicago Society of Etchers, California Society of Etchers,
Carmel Art Association, Prairie Print Makers, New Mexico Art League and
the Philadelphia Watercolor Club.
In 1950, Kloss was elected an Associate in the National Academy of
Design and to full Academician in 1972. She received numerous
honors for her prints, which were included in Fine Prints of the Year
and 100 Best Prints of the Year.
Repositories of her work include the Carnegie Institute, Art Institute
of Chicago, Library of Congress, New York Public Library, Smithsonian
Institute, San Francisco Museum of Art, Dallas Museum, Oakland Museum,
and the Museum of New Mexico in Santa Fe.
Born: Oakland, California 1903
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Taos landscape etcher, painter in oil and watercolor.
Gene Kloss received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California in 1924. She studied at the California School of Fine Arts 1924-25, becoming a summer visitor to Taos, New Mexico in 1925 while living in Oakland. In 1929, she became a permanent resident of Taos. She began winning awards in the 1930's, with one-artist museum shows beginning in the 1950s. Her work was included in "Fine Prints of the Year" and "100 Best Prints of the Year." In 1938, her work was exhibited in Paris as a leading New Mexico artist along with Blumenschein, O'Keeffe, and Sloan. Her prints of New Mexico landscape and genre scenes are her most popular, displaying a sensitive simplicity with sharp contrasts in tonality to emphasize the immensity of the West.
Resource: SAMUELS' Encyclopedia of ARTISTS of THE AMERICAN WEST,
Peggy and Harold Samuels, 1985, Castle Publishing
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