Theodore Lukits (1897-1992)
The artist Theodore Nikolai Lukits was born in Hungary in 1897 and died in Los Angeles in 1992. While still in school, he began art classes with private tutors at Washington University, and for his degree, he studied at the Art Institute in Chicago. He moved to Los Angeles in 1922 and became successful as a portrait painter of prominent Southern Californians, as well as one of California’s finest pastel artists. About 1940 he established the Lukits Academy of Fine Arts where he trained some of the most successful Southern California landscape and figurative artists.
Lukits’ pastels were made on-site (en plein air) as studies for possible landscape paintings. Like watercolor, pastel is an exacting medium, and it is difficult to change once the first layer is applied to the paper. At times he used a miner’s type helmet that he constructed with a light on the front so he could make his pastels outdoors at night. The artist’s mastery of the technique is shown in the wide variety of outdoor scenes he depicted of various places in the Southwest.
On August 31, 1932, Lukits was admitted to Artist Member of the Jonathan Club, and in 1949 he was granted Artist Life Membership. In July of 1990 the artist and his wife, Lucille, made a gift to the Art Foundation of many of his pastels and oils, over 360 works of art.