Orpha Klinker Biography

Orpha Klinker




Orpha Klinker (1891-1964), painter, printmaker, writer, illustrator and historian, was born in Fairfield, Iowa on November 20, 1891. Her family moved to California when Orpha was a small child, eventually settling in San Bernardino. She studied art in Los Angeles at Polytechnic High School, University of California and Cannon Art School. Klinker began her career as a commercial artist, but Paris beckoned and she continued her studies at the Julian and Colarossi Academies. After a year abroad Klinker worked in New York and Philadelphia before returning to Los Angeles in the mid 1930s.

It was in Southern California that Klinker was able to devote herself to her main interests: history and the desert. Known primarily as a portraitist, historical and desert painter, Klinker was also a preservationist. She recorded in painting the early adobe structures of Southern California and promoted, though her lectures, the California Historic Landmark Registration Program. It wasn't until the late 1930s that she began etching, but even her earliest efforts won recognition.

Klinker was a member of the Society of American Etchers, California Society of Etchers, California Art Club, Women Painters of the West, Society of Western Artists, Los Angeles Art Association and the Laguna Beach Art Association. Her paintings and prints were exhibited internationally and she garnered numerous honors for her work. Klinker is represented in the collections of the City of Los Angeles, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Spencer Museum of Art and the Museum of the San Fernando Valley.