FRED KLINE Obituary (2021) – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Fred R. Kline, an art dealer and art historian who has dedicated his career to identifying the creators of paintings and drawings who had lost their place in the world, died Saturday September 11 in Santa Fe, New Brunswick. Mexico, after two years fighting leukemia. He was 81 years old.
Kline was a great mathematician in the art world – writer, poet, sculptor, gallery owner and collector. But much of his career focused on finding art that wasn’t attributed or wrongly attributed or that had been somehow misinterpreted. He called himself an “art explorer” and his findings are preserved in many remarkable collections and museums.
Among the collections that contain Kline’s findings are the Thaw Collection of Master Drawings at the Morgan Library; the J. Paul Getty Museum; The Metropolitan Art Museum; Jenness Collection of Master Drawings at the Clark Art Institute; Leeds Museum, United Kingdom; Frances Lehman Loeb Art Museum at Vassar College; and the Aga Khan Collection of Ancient Drawings. Kline chose to repatriate sacred objects and made several discoveries to their creators, including the Onondaga and Seminole tribes.
“Mr. Kline took art under his selfless wing and took care of it,” said Rachael Cozad, founding director of the Riverbank Foundation for Art Research, based in Kansas City, Missouri. “He was interested in every type of object and in all eras; no work of art was too insignificant to justify his interest or his altruism.”
Mr. Kline’s extensive art library was donated to the Riverbank Foundation, through which Kline served as editor and director of the George Caleb Bingham Catalog Raisonné Advisory Board. Bingham, the artist, had a special fascination with Kline, as he rarely signed his paintings, and therefore Kline devoted many years to the scrupulous process of Bingham’s assignments.
Kline detailed his artistic discoveries in his memoir, Leonardo’s Holy Child – The Discovery of a Leonardo da Vinci Masterpiece: A Connoisseur’s Search for Lost Art in America, published in 2016 by Pegasus Books, New York and London. He was also an art historian for the Leonardo da Vinci DNA Project, sponsored by the Lounsbery Foundation, the J. Craig Venter Institute and Rockefeller University, which was established to uncover the physiological profile of Leonardo for the first time.
For the past 35 years, Kline’s findings of lost art have been featured in The York Times, Art & Antiques Magazine, Esquire, and the art history textbook, Framing America: A Social History of American Art. by Frances Pohl. Pohl highlighted and illustrated Kline’s discovery of approx. 1530 Aztec-Spanish (Indo-Christian) sculpture “La Virgencita del Nuevo Mundo” among the earliest works of art from the New World.
Born November 3, 1939 in Hagerstown, Maryland, Kline spent most of his youth in San Antonio, Texas. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1960 to 1962 and was stationed in Japan and Southeast Asia during early reconnaissance for the upcoming Vietnam War. He received a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University (1968).
In the mid-1970s, Kline was on the editorial team for National Geographic Magazine.
As a sculptor, Kline’s public installation Temple of the Hills, located in Santa Fe, has been recognized in Art in America and the Smithsonian Outdoor Sculpture Survey. As a poet, he was invited by poet laureate Joséphine Jacobsen in 1975 to record excerpts from his four books of poetry at the Library of Congress.
In 1979, Kline established the Fred R. Kline Gallery in Santa Fe, where he worked alongside his late wife, Jann Arbogust Sasser Kline.
Since 2017, Kline resided in Las Vegas, New Mexico, where he continued his work as an art dealer and private writer, as well as an array of artistic adventures and a love for humanity, animals. and nature.
He is survived by his son, Aren Kline of Santa Fe, NM; his daughter, Dia Kline of Niwot, CO; his granddaughter, Astrid Slavin; stepchildren, Tara Kitzmiller, Jarrett Sasser, Mitch Sasser; and her nine year old partner, Angela Zimm of Northampton, MA.
A commemorative rally will take place at a later date to be announced.
Funeral of the Rivera family
and cremations
417 East Rodeo Rd.
Santa Fe, NM 87505
Telephone: (505) 989-7032

Posted by Santa Fe New Mexican on September 18-19, 2021.

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