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Edgar Kiechle (1911 – 1960)

A Valley Streetscape at Night, 1948, oil on masonite, signed and dated lower right, 18 x 24 inches; literature: King, Chloe, The Paintings of Edgard O. Kiechle – Unearthed After 60 Years, Ventura Blvd, January/February, 2023, pp. 46 – 53 (illustrated) (  and


Edgar Kiechle was a Los Angeles painter, illustrator, and designer. He was born in St. Louis into an artistic family. His father, Otto Anton Kiechle, was also a painter and designer of stain glass and movie sets. The Kiechle family moved to Los Angeles in 1920, where the young artist studied at the Otis College of Art and Design and with Jean Mannheim. He worked for nearly thirty years for many of Hollywood’s major studios, including with Ub Iwerks, Walter Lantz Productions, and his primary client, Universal Studios.

Kiechle lived in Studio City in the San Fernando Valley and was adept at capturing the nocturnal neon glow of the Los Angeles’ burgeoning sprawl during the 1940s and 1950s, earning the nickname "Mr. Observation." A Valley Streetscape at Night is typical of Kiechle's ability to use expressionist painting techniques and a cinematographer's sensibility to portray "suburban noir" landscapes. Several years before he painted the present work, Kiechle showed in an exhibition of motion picture artists in 1945, and was honored when the critic Herman Reuter wrote "in the Kiechle canvasses there is spirit, imagination and dexterity of manipulation." Kiechle's works were popular with the Hollywood crowd, including Ira Gershwin and Hedy Lamarr who hosted a solo exhibition of his art. In 1947, the Francis Taylor Galleries in Beverly Hills mounted Kiechle’s first solo exhibition about which Los Angeles Times art critic, Arthur Millier wrote, that Kiechle's work was “especially colorful,” and Reuter added that Kiechle's "vigorous approach" was "especially notable in several oils," adding that his "bold layering on of paint seems to serve a definite expressive purpose, rather than being a mere mannerism as it so often is with those who mistake plastic tub-thumping for impressiveness."

Later in the 1940s and 1950s, Kiechle’s work was included in exhibitions at the Palace of the Legion of Honor Exhibition in San Francisco, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Art Museum, and the Oakland Art Gallery. In 1953, Millier called Kiechle "a born painter," saying that he had "a gift for suggesting atmosphere, and is one of the best painters of night in the region." Toward the end of his career, Universal Studios rented out Kiechle’s easel paintings to other studios and they appeared in films such as An Affair to Remember (1957), Pillow Talk (1959), and For Love or Money (1963). Kiechle died young at the age of forty-nine from dysentery he contracted while working in Mexico on the set of The Last Sunset (1961).  Kiechle is listed in Edan Hughes' Artists in California 1786 – 1940.  


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