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Constantin Kluge

Constantin Kluge

1912 - 2002

Constantin Kluge was born in Russia in 1912. His mother was a professor of literature and tutored the nieces and nephews of Czar Nicholas II. His father was a general in the Czar's army. During the Revolution, in 1920, the Kluge family emigrated to Manchuria. In 1922, the family boarded an art teacher who encouraged Constantine to draw. By the age of was ten, he was sketching portraits. In 1925, the family moved to Shanghai where Kluge continued to draw figures and began painting landscapes in gauche. In 1931 Kluge went to Paris to attend the Ecole des Beaux Arts to study architecture. He worked part time as a draftsman while going to school. In 1937 he graduated, and before returning to China, he spent a year painting in Paris, the city he had fallen in love with. There he had his first experience using oil paints. In 1938 Kluge returned to Shanghai. He worked in a building permits office, and continued to paint. He held shows of both his French canvases and his newer works. In 1946, Kluge left Shanghai as Mao-Tse -Tung began sweeping the area and took his wife and new son Michael to Hong Kong. Kluge began working as an architect, but eventually gave it up to paint full time. He painted wharves, shorelines, shipyards and poor neighborhoods. He also began to devoutly study Catholicism. In 1950 Kluge returned to Paris where he wanted to make a living as a painter. A dealer suggested that Kluge paint well known sites of Paris that tourists could easily identify. Kluge took his advice and later exhibited his paintings at the chic Rue Saint-Honoré. He was an immediate success. In 1952 several London art dealers purchased large collections from Kluge, affording him a chance to paint and travel. By the mid 1950s Kluge developed a working relationship with American gallery owner Wally C. Findlay. Findlay would buy large lots from Kluge every six months and sell them in his galleries in Chicago, New York, Beverly Hills and Miami. Kluge thus developed a following of devoted collectors and has been wildly successful both with critics and collectors. In 1990 Kluge was awarded the extremely prestigious French Legion of Honor. His work is currently represented in corporate and private collections all over the world. Kluge passed away in January, 2003.


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