Constantin Kluge (1912-2003) was a Russian-born French painter best known for his naturalistic scenes of Paris and the French countryside. Kluge was born to a wealthy military family on January 29, 1912 in Riga, Latvia, which was then a large, industrial Russian port city. The family moved often, following Constantin’s father’s military deployment and he spent much of his childhood and young adult life between Manchuria, Beijing, and Hong Kong, where he discovered a love for brush and ink painting.
Kluge studied architecture at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris, earning his diploma in 1937. Upon graduating, he painted the city’s river banks and streets before returning to Shanghai. As an aspiring architect, in Shanghai, the turn world events helped force Kluge to paint. With the outbreak of the war, building nearly ceased as raw materials were being confiscated by the Japanese for their military and Kulge filled his time with painting.
With the rise of Communism in China, the artist fled to Paris in 1950 and began exhibiting in French Salons from 1951. Kluge’s background in architecture heavily informed his works, the Parisian buildings he paints being depicted with striking architectural and structural accuracy. He died on January 9, 2003 in Paris, France. Kluge’s works are in the collections of the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, among others.