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Franz Geritz (1895-1945)

[From the community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]

GERITZ, Franz [1895-1945]

Mt San Jacinto

1927

color woodcut / 9 inches by 12.25 inches / unsigned proof

Franz (Frank) Geritz, painter, printmaker, illustrator, writer, and educator, was born in Budapest, Hungary on April 16, 1895. He immigrated with his family to the United States in 1909 and his education continued in the public schools of Philadelphia and Chicago. Geritz worked for the Pullman Company in Chicago before moving to Northern California. In 1921, he graduated from the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland where he was a student of Perham Nahl, Xavier Martinez, and Frank Van Sloun.

Between 1920 and 1923, Geritz supported himself by freelancing for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, and the Los Angeles Examiner. By 1922 he was living in Southern California and began a ten-year career of teaching block printing at the University of California Extension, Los Angeles. In November of that year his article “How to Make Block Prints” was published in California Southland. In 1923, an Exhibition of Block Prints and Etchings by Frank Geritz was on view at the Los Angeles Museum in Exposition Park between September 13 and 31.

He was a member of and exhibited with the California Society of Etchers, the California Printmakers, and the Oakland Art Association. In 1926, he showed in the Print Rooms of the Los Angeles Museum along with Loren Barton, Grace M. Brown and Francis W. Vreeland. He won a bronze medal for his color block prints at the San Diego Pacific Southwest Exposition and his color block print Mono Lake was selected in 1927 for the 100 Prints of the Year exhibition. In 1934, Geritz created a handful of block prints through the Public Works Administration and, in 1939, his work was included in the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco.

After moving to Los Angeles he met musician Josephine Heintz and they married on March 26, 1927. Geritz explored the western states and rendered the splendor of Yosemite, Shasta, Mono Lake, and Zion in his block prints. He also worked in portraiture and created many block prints or etchings of friends and local personalities including Arthur Millier, Perham Nahl, Edward Weston, Xavier Martinez, Emil Oberhoffer, Margrethe Mather, Ramon Novarro, and Georges Baklinoff.

His work is represented in the collections of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Brooklyn Museum, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, Library of Congress, San Diego Museum, and numerous county and city libraries within California.

Franz Geritz died in Los Angeles, California on November 27, 1945.  His death was linked to a boyhood injury

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