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 Rudi Klimpert  (1926 - 2011)

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Lived/Active: New Mexico      Known for: mod architecture, portrait, figure painting

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Ad Code: 4
Rudi Klimpert
from Auction House Records.
"Southwest Memory Marker"
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
 Rudi Klimpert (1924-2011)

A native of New York City, Klimpert graduated from the Art Students League and began his career before moving through Canada and St. Louis and arriving in Chicago in 1959.  Working on the staff of advertising agencies with national accounts, he earned a reputation as a talented storyboard artist able to illustrate proposed television commercials in a series of drawings.

Storyboards, used to sell clients on ideas and plan productions, often had to be prepared overnight. "It trains you for speed," Klimpert said.

Moving to Placitas, New Mexico in 1990, Klimpert produced oil paintings, wood and stone carvings, and scores of Signpost cartoons.  He illustrated the Letters page of Crosswinds Weekly, taught an occasional private art lesson, sold paintings internationally through Canyon Road Contemporary Gallery Art, in Santa Fe, and sometimes took on a commercial assignment from a past client.

Doors are a recurrent image in his work, for the past 20 years influenced by Southwestern cultures.

"A door is like a signature to a house," he said. "I've always done doors, but not like this.  They float free in the landscape, so I can add New Mexico."

Working with canvas and oil, Klimpert said he may start with a color idea and explore the image from there.  In a typical work, the greens, browns, and reds of the earth rise to sunset colors surrounding a vivid blue door on which cultural icons are beginning to appear.  Adornments seen in other works can be turquoise jewelry hanging from a cow skull, with sheriff's badges, Route 66 postcards, and native flowers nearby.  Even a pickup truck may appear on the landscape.

"Everything you see in that painting is indigenous to this area," he said. "Now I paint a lot freer and with the idea that I let the color do it for me."

"There's a lot of trial and error, I scrape off a lot, but when it's finished, I know it."

Klimpert said he considered himself lucky to have made art his life and to have worked as a traditional illustrator, a skill once prized by advertising and long-gone national magazines.  Even the work of storyboard artist, while still in demand, has mostly moved to computers, he said.

Rudi Klimpert passed on February 24, 2011.

Sources include:

Additional information provided by Karen Klimpert, the artist's daughter.

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