Theodore Klitzke

[ Age 92 ] Art historian served as faculty dean, acting president of Maryland Institute College of Art.

As acting MICA president, Dr. Klitzke played a key role in the transition from art school to college.

January 09, 2008|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,Sun reporter

Dr. Theodore E. Klitzke, former dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs at the Maryland Institute College of Art, where he had also been acting president, died Sunday of complications from a stroke at Manor Care Ruxton. He was 92.

Dr. Klitzke was born and raised in Chicago. He attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago from 1934 to 1936 and earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1939.

He earned a bachelor's degree in 1941 from the University of Chicago and studied at the Institute of Art and Archaeology of the Sorbonne and the Ecole du Louvre from 1947 to 1948. In 1953, he earned a doctorate from the University of Chicago.

FOR THE RECORD - An obituary published in yesterday's editions of The Sun for Dr. Theodore E. Klitzke incorrectly stated that was a member of CASA of Maryland, an immigrant advocacy group. He was a member of Casa Baltimore/Limay, a friendship-city organization linking Baltimore and San Juan de Limay, Nicaragua. The Sun regrets the error.

Dr. Klitzke was assistant to the curator of prints and drawings at the Chicago Art Institute from 1941 to 1942 and was an instructor of art history at the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1947. From 1948 to 1951, he was an educational adviser to the United States government in Nuremberg, Germany.

From 1953 to 1959, he was an assistant professor of art history at Alfred University in Alfred, N.Y., and was chairman of the art history department at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa from 1959 until 1968.

In 1968, Dr. Klitzke came to what is now MICA, where he succeeded Robert R. Forth as vice president of academic affairs, and later was named dean of the faculty. He also continued teaching a popular history of printmaking course at the college.

Dr. Klitzke also served twice as acting president of MICA, from 1974 to 1976, and again from 1977 to 1978, when Fred Lazarus IV was appointed president of the college.

"Ted played a really critical role in the development of MICA in the late 1960s and early 1970s, during our transition from an art school to a college," said Mr. Lazarus, yesterday.

"It was a very difficult period for the school, and he provided the glue that kept it together. I don't know what we would have done without him. After I got here in 1978, he was both my mentor and tutor," he said.

Mr. Lazarus described Dr. Klitzke as a man gifted with a "great smile and wonderful sense of humor." "

Dr. Klitzke was married in 1946 to the former Margaret Gaughan, a social worker, and together the couple began collecting prints that range from "Sixteenth Century German block prints to contemporary silkscreen landscapes," said a 1978 article in The Sun.

They also specialized in collecting etchings, woodcuts and lithographs produced by Kathe Kollwitz, a German printmaker, painter and sculptor who died in 1945.

"The first thing I remember about Ted was how he and his wife were so generous with their collection. They loved sharing it with invited classes of students at the BMA or in their Ruxton home," said Jay Fisher, deputy director for curatorial affairs at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

"He was always a little bit self-effacing and had a wry sense of humor. However, he wasn't a man who was anxious for a lot of attention," he said.

Dr. Klitzke wrote and lectured widely and was a longtime member of the accessions committee at the BMA.

Throughout their lives, the couple had also been active in civil rights, and had participated in the 1965 march with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery.

"Both of them were very active in social causes in Chicago, and that's how they met. They were both drawn to progressive and liberal causes and dedicated their lives to peace and social justice," said a daughter, Margaret G. Klitzke of Seekonk, Mass.

"We were children, but they made sure we also marched from Selma because they thought it was the right thing to do," she said.

"Ted was the epitome of the liberal," Mr. Lazarus added.

"He continued to be concerned with the underserved and needy till the day he died," said Douglas Frost, MICA's vice president for development.

While living in Alabama, Dr. Klitzke had served on the board of the American Civil Liberties Union, and was a member of the Tuscaloosa Action Committee for Civil Rights and was vice chairman of the Tuscaloosa Civil Liberties Union Chapter. He was a longtime active member of CASA of Maryland, an immigrant advocacy group, and the Baltimore News Network.

Mrs. Klitzke died in 1990.

Dr. Klitzke died just 24 hours after a party that was given in his honor at the assisted-living facility where he was a resident.

"There were about 60 close friends, and when I later visited him after he returned to his room, he kept saying how wonderful it had been. And rather than having a funeral service, that was his service, and he was able to attend," his daughter said.

Also surviving are another daughter, Annetta M. Conpestabile of Maroggia, Switzerland; and two grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.