Constantin Kluge – The Pictorial Poetry of Paris

The Pictorial Poetry of Paris

Constantin Kluge

Though born in Riga, Latvia, in 1912, Constantin Kluge grew up in China, spending his adolescent years in Shanghai, where his family was forced to migrate during the Bolshevik Revolution. There, among his studies of Mandarin and the art of calligraphy, Kluge found excitement in visual art as an active member of the Shanghai Art Club. As a young adult, his parents urged him to study something more pragmatic than fine art. Kluge found a compromise in architecture, but it was ultimately his exceptional drawing skill that secured his place at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts as a student of Architecture in 1931. He spent six years studying and in 1937, graduated with the title, French Government Architect. His passion for the city of lights grew exponentially in his short time there. Kluge was so profoundly moved and deeply in love with the city that he remained for several months after completing his studies. He stayed to paint views of Paris in oils, purely to portray and preserve the scenes he cherished so much.

Kluge returned to China and practiced architecture in Shanghai. After persuasion from friends, he also began exhibiting his paintings, which reared great success to Kluge’s surprise. However, his painting career paused during World War II. Beginning in 1950, Kluge worked as an architect in Hong Kong. Supported fervently by friends, and urged by his heart, he returned to his dear Paris due to rumors of the Communist invasion. Unsurprisingly as an already mature and successful painter, in 1951, Kluge won an award at the Paris Salon. After, he frequently exhibited in the Salon shows, which proved to be his gateway to ever-increasing public attention. Kluge then also became a member of the Sociéte des Artistes Francais and received the Médaille d’Argent and the special Raymond Perreau prize given by the Salon’s Taylor Foundation.

By the late 1950s, Kluge’s paintings caught the eye of the world-renowned art dealer, Wally Findlay, Jr., who immediately presented Kluge’s Parisian paintings to the American market and consolidated his stature in Europe. He launched his career by the 1960s with exhibitions in all Findlay Galleries locations, including Paris, New York, Palm Beach, Chicago, and Beverly Hills. Today, Kluges estate is exclusively represented by the Findlay Galleries after more than 60 years of representation, and his works are a highlight of the galleries rooster of highly valued artists. In 1990, after many critical successful years, French president François Mitterand awarded him the highest French order of merit for military and civil merits of honor, Chevalier de la Légion D’Honneur. Throughout the nineties and until his passing in 2003, Kluge continued to paint Paris’s poetic landscapes and exhibit his renowned and masterfully detailed paintings at the Findlay Galleries worldwide.

James MuldoonConstantin Kluge – The Pictorial Poetry of Paris