by JOHN P. SIMONI WSU Professor of Art
Dr. Simoni was a summer resident of Estes Park.
This article appeared in the Wichita (Kansas) Eagle and Beacon.
ESTES PARK, Colo. - When in Colorado John Kirsch is an easel painter. He loves the high country and has produced canvases of the Alpine regions of Europe as well as the Colorado Rockies. He built his studio for summer residence in Estes Park In 1944 and lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the rest of the year. With his wife Frances, he explores the Rocky Mountain National Park by foot with knapsack and painting kit.
Kirsch was born in Austria in 1894. He studied at the Art Academies of Vienna and Munich, where he received that basic training paramount to the versatile personality in the visual arts. He has sensitivities which pertain to man with talent in art expression. He came to America in 1922.
He is an artist whose murals, stained glass windows and decorations for churches throughout the country have brought him fame and work. In Kansas he created stained glass and mural paintings for churches located in Fort Leavenworth, Topeka, Victoria, Parsons, Kansas City, and other communities. His work is seen in 400 churches in the United States. Not remembering all of the church he mentioned that his art is seen in churches of 15 states.
He said: "The colors and terrain of the Rockies make the world's most beautiful and desirable mountain paintings. My paintings are in many Kansas private collections."
Kirsch has never been interested in exhibiting his work. In the opinion of some, the only creditable asset for the artist is to exhibit. But an exhibit is here today and. gone tomorrow; it can possibly be a good market outlet. Although Kirsch does not exhibit, he is known throughout the U.S. as a distinguished artist whose work is appreciated continuously by innumerable people.
At the Kansas City Art Institute they sought him as a teacher. But Kirsch remained faithful to his calling as a producing artist for institutions and people. He has refused to become a teacher of art.
He is not a friend of the modern art "that is abusing the sincerity of human expression with meaningless dabs," The paintings in his studio are of the mountain landscape. They represent the snow-covered peaks, rugged trees and terrain of the Alps and the Rockies.
The variables of color he perceives as vital abstract and expressive content in his compositions. The image of feeling primary in his work is presentational of depth in experiencing the atmosphere oŁ mountain country,
A productive painter, he enjoys every moment in his Estes studio overlooking the peaks of the Front Range. It is a unique experience to visit his studio. He expresses the friendly spirit of Alpine people.
Kirsch's father and grandfather were church painters. His son is today following his father's craft. He and the late Dave Stirling were good friends. Their paintings are within a common purpose in the creation of art.