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 Jerome Jaroslav Klapka  (1887 - 1965)

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Lived/Active: Illinois/California      Known for: figure, portrait and landscape painting, illustration

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from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Jerome Jaroslav Klapka was born in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) and was living in Chicago by 1902, when he enrolled in the Saturday children’s class at the Art Institute. Klapka studied there intermittently in the following years, as well as at the American Academy of Art. His most important instructors were portraitists Antonin Sterba and Wellington Reynolds.

Klapka apparently devoted the early part of his career in Chicago to commercial and advertising art. After working in Detroit from 1929 to 1931, he returned to the area, living in west-suburban Oak Park and then in nearby Berwyn until 1940.

Klapka was most visible as a fine artist in Chicago during the 1930s, when he participated twice in the Art Institute’s annual Chicago and Vicinity exhibition and once in its yearly American artists’ show. He also was active in such local organizations as the Bohemian Arts Club, the Chicago Galleries Association, the Association of Chicago Painters and Sculptors (of which he served as director in 1942), and the All-Illinois Society of Fine Arts; the latter awarded him first prize at its 1938 annual exhibition. He was president of the Guild of Free Lance Artists in 1940–1941. In 1936, Klapka was giving private painting instruction from his workspace in the Tree Studios building on East Ohio Street.

Klapka painted figural works and landscapes in oils and in watercolors. His portraits included one of his son as a U.S. Army Air Corps flight instructor; exhibited in the All-Illinois Society of the Fine Arts’s annual show of 1942, it was reproduced in the Chicago Tribune as part of its coverage of this wartime art event. By that time, the artist had returned to Detroit. He moved to Los Angeles in 1948 and spent his final fifteen years in Mill Valley, California, summering in Cary, Illinois.

Over the Top in 1933 probably was Klapka’s best-known image. The American Legion reproduced it on brochures for its conventions in 1934 and again in 1946 and 1952. In 1936, it was reproduced on the front covers of both the Chicago Tribune’s rotogravure section and the Medinah Athletic Club members’ magazine, where it was erroneously titled Armistice Day in reference to the November 11 commemoration of the end of World War I—the holiday known since 1954 as Veterans Day.

Bio submitted by Joseph Torossian
This biographical information has been provided by M. Christine Schwartz Collection, off her web sight,  The Schwartz Collection has over 60 prominent Chicago artists, and Jerome J. Klapka is one of those artists.

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