Friday, April 17, 2009

See Joseph Kleitsh's "Old Post Office" at Laguna Art Museum

I was recently reading "A Short History of Laguna Beach by Karen Wilson Turnbull which includes "John Nicholas Isch ran the livery stable. He also ran a grocery and was one of the early postmasters. Known for his trusting ways, he never locked up when he went fishing. Customers came in to shop and to pick up their own mail. They could pay the next time they came in. For a number of years, the only telephone in a town was in the store. The phone was connected with the Irvine ranch house, and messages could be relayed from there to the outside world."

The grocery store / post office was on Laguna Avenue and was immortalized by Laguna Impressionist Joseph Kleitsh in his painting "Old Post Office"

I recently went to the Laguna Art museum to see the current exhibition "Roger Kuntz: The Shadow Between Representation and Abstraction". There in the book store I was amazed to see Joseph Kleitsh's "Old Post Office".

It is quite a painting, and quite a thrill seeing it. The 1922-23 painting depicts a profile view of Nick Isch's general store and post office on a sunny afternoon. A man sits on the porch, and a dog regards the viewer from the steps.

Then I went upstairs in the Museum where there is an exhibition of historic art and I saw once again Joseph Kleitsh's "Old Post Office". At first I was a bit confused, but found out the one in the bookstore is a giclée available for sale unframed for only $325. I would encourage all Lagunas to see the exhibitions and see the quality of the giclée reproductions.


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