JOSEPH KLEITSCH (1882-1931)
Portrait of Hedda Novac. 192034 x 23 in. oil on canvas
DescriptionThis is the Portrait of Hedda Nova, painted by Joseph Kleitsch. The film industry provided plenty of commissions for Kleitsch, as he was contracted with the prominent LA dealer Earl Stendahl as an in-house portraitist at the time. Hedda was born Hedda Puscewski in Soviet Russia, what is now Ukraine. She became a silent film star, though she never transitioned into talking films due to her thick Russian accent. During the height of her acting career, she was still working hard on learning to speak English. She was married to American actor and director Paul Hurst from 1919 to 1953 when, sadly, he committed suicide after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. This portrait depicts Hedda in a lovely black and gold gown with gossamer sleeves. As a silent film actress, trained to emote without words, it is easy to imagine that her expressive eyes and dramatic hand at her chest are telling the viewer a story.