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    Description

    JOSEPH AMADEUS FLECK (American, 1892-1977)
    Aspen at Twinning
    Oil on masonite
    25 x 30 inches (63.5 x 76.2 cm)
    Signed lower right: J. Fleck
    Titled, signed, and dated verso: Aspen at Twinning / Joseph Fleck / Oct 2nd

    Born in the village of Sziklos, Austria-Hungary, Fleck studied printmaking at the Kunstgewerbeschule (Institute of Applied Arts) and drawing and painting at the Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien (Academy of Fine Arts) in Vienna. His primary instructors at the Akademie, Hans Tichi and Rudolph Bacher, were fringe members of the Vienna Secession led by Gustav Klimt. Fleck began serving in World War I in 1914. After being posted to the Italian front, he became unofficial regimental artist, a position that evolved into an official assignment painting patriotic images and portraits of notable government and military figures.

    Fleck immigrated to Kansas City, Missouri, in 1922 finding work as a designer for Tiffany's. He also painted portraits of notable Kansas Citians, including the mayor. In summer 1924 Fleck first visited Taos, New Mexico after seeing a Taos Society of Artists exhibition in Kansas City. He moved to Taos in 1925 with his new wife, Mabel Davidson Mantz, who had family connections in Kansas City and Fort Worth, Texas, that would aid Fleck's art career. Eventually Fleck had a studio on La Loma, a neighborhood just west of Taos Plaza, where artists W. Herbert Dunton and Blanche Grant also lived. Fleck was especially close to Taos artists E. Martin Hennings and Leon Gaspard.

    When the Great Depression decreased tourist traffic to Taos, Fleck "resolved to go to the clients" beginning in 1934. According to his son, Joseph Fleck Jr., going to the clients "usually meant Oklahoma and Texas, where oil was still putting money in people's pockets." Fleck's wife also had family connections in Fort Worth:

    "He would load paintings into the back seat and trunk of his unheated 'blue baby' and head down the narrow, deeply furrowed dirt road through the Rio Grande canyon to Santa Fe, and from there over frozen upaved roads to Tucumcari and across the Texas Panhandle. . . Upon arrival at his destination he would contact the president of the local women's club or Junior League and offer to give a lecture on art. His offers were invariably accepted."--Joseph A. Fleck, Jr.


    Joseph A. Fleck also painted New Deal murals at Raton, New Mexico, Hugo, Oklahoma, and the New Mexico State Capitol at Santa Fe (never finished). In the 1930s, because his studio was too cold in winter, Fleck also made most of his lithographs in his kitchen, drawing on a stone balanced on his lap.

    During the 1940s, Fleck taught at the Kansas City Art Institute and the University of Kansas City (now the University of Missouri at Kansas City), succeeding Thomas Hart Benton. He painted murals for the student union at UMKC that still hang there. In the late 1940s, Fleck built a new studio at Talpa, another village south of Taos and near the communities of Ranchos de Taos and Llano Quemado. Taos moderns Ward Lockwood and Andrew Dasburg lived in the Talpa area.

    Sharing similar academic training with most artists working in Taos in the 1920s, initially, Fleck's Taos paintings were consistent with those produced by the Taos Society of Artists and other. However, during the 1930s, his paintings took on a definite Regionalist style perhaps due to his ties to Kansas City and Benton as well as the Regionalists in Texas. By the 1950s, his brushwork became looser and more expressionistic, and he turned more often to landscapes.

    Fleck exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Academy of Design, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and had solo exhibitions at Kansas City, Santa Fe, Taos, Houston, San Antonio, and Albuquerque. Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum at Canyon, Texas, has the largest public collection of Fleck's work.



    Condition Report*: Scattered craquelure with minor paint loss; frame abrasions along top edge, notably one inch area on right; otherwise this  lot is in good condition with only normal wear commensurate with age. Framed to an overall size of  30 x 35 in.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2010
    15th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,756

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    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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