Nita Klein in her studio
Nita Klein in her studio

Nita Klein is a prolific artist who finds abundant inspiration in the natural beauty of the Hudson Highlands. Her original pastels, watercolors, and acrylic paintings have been exhibited in a wide range of venues both local and national, including Palisades Interstate Park, Hudson River Valley Association, Museum of the Hudson Highlands, Marymount College, and The River Gallery, among many others. She resides in Cornwall-on-Hudson, where she paints every day, often from her kitchen table where she looks out into a forested yard, offering seasonal variations such as November's lingering yellow leaves.

On some days, Nita will be enticed by a single blosson; on others, by a stand of trees. By no means limited to flowers, leaves, and trees, her nude paintings have often portrayed the human figure in shadow and grace.

Nita and her husband, Lawrence, have lived in the village, in a historic barn that once stood on the property of Mexican War hero James Duncan, since 1970. She was born in Highland Falls, then moved to Peekskill, eventually leaving the area to attend the University of Vermont, where she met her husband.

She relocated to New York City, where she attended Parsons School of Design, studying fashion design. "I must have driven my teacher crazy," she recalls, "sewing sleeves together when I was supposed to sew buttons on." She soon changed her focus to drawing, painting, and pastels.

Painting of a fish
Painting of a fish

After graduation, she got a job in the art department of one of Manhattan's biggest advertising agencies, Young & Rubican. She had a two-hour lunch and during her breaks she painted and sold her work to the art directors. Within a couple of years, she says, she had sold enough of her art at lunchtime to make it feasible not to work.

Nita's painting of a pear featured on the cover of Valley Table magazine
Nita's painting of a pear featured on the cover of Valley Table magazine

By the late 1960s, Nita had had enough of city life and she and her husband moved first to Westchester, then to Cornwall-on-Hudson. She sold her work at Bloomingdales and once had a commission to create any original painting for a hotel in Manhatten where every single room featured an original Nita Klein work. Today, her work hangs in many restaurants, including Cosimo's chain, who use her work exclusively. She has won awards, including the 2006 Orange County Arts Grant, and her painting of a pear recently appeared on the cover of Valley Table magazine.

Nita says her work has evolved over time. When she first moved to this area, the trees in her paintings were thicker and darker. "My work today is softer," she says, emphasizing "every little color and the line. Just like an Oriental painting, it's just the line."

Nita says that she enjoys being alone in her home, painting, soaking up the quiet and the view out her window. She cautions that artists should only work when they are in a good mood and judging by her daily routine, Nita never lacks what she needs to paint.

Source: News from Cornwall and Cornwall on Hudson, December 5, 2009

In 2013 Nita was awarded the title "Best Watercolor Artist of 2012" by the Times Herald-Record, a unit of Dow Jones Local Media Group.

© Nita Klein
53 Weeks Avenue
Cornwall-On-Hudson, New York 12520
(845) 534-7255