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 practical 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. In 1937, he graduated with the title of French Government Architect. His passion for the city of lights grew exponentially during his 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 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 in the 1961 with exhibitions in all Findlay Galleries locations. In 1990, after many critically successful years, French president François Mitterand awarded Kluge the highest French order of merit for military and civil merits, Chevalier de la Légion D’Honneur. Throughout the nineties Kluge continued to paint Paris’s poetic landscapes until his passing in 2003.
After more than 60 years of representation, Findlay Galleries has exhibited Kluge’s work in Chicago, Palm Beach, New York, Paris, Beverly Hills, Tokyo, East Hampton, London, Monte Carlo and Barcelona. Today, Kluge’s estate is still exclusively represented by Findlay Galleries and his works are a highlight of the gallery’s roster of highly valued artists.
Findlay Galleries began representing the works of Constantin Kluge in 1961 and exhibited his works in Chicago, Palm Beach, New York, Paris, Beverly Hills, Tokyo, East Hampton, London, Monte Carlo and Barcelona. Today, Findlay Galleries represents the artist’s entire estate internationally.