Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sidney Kittinger

Sidney "Kit" Kittinger was born in 1921 in the isolated hamlet of Rumsey, Kentucky.

He began drawing at an early age and sold his first painting for 3¢ to a 15-year-old farm boy. The drawing was pornographic in nature; Kit and his first patron were suspended from school for two weeks.

Kit attended Western Kentucky State University where he majored in Art. A week before graduation, he was drafted into the Army. He served as an Infantry man during World War II in Africa and Italy. He was fortunater to be able to attend the Florentine Acadmey of Art while in Italy.

Later, he studied briefly at the Art Students' League in New York. Restless, he purchased a sailboat and moved to Florida where he studied during several winter terms at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota.

During a cruise to Mexico, he was forced into New Orleans. He decided to remain there and finish his art education at the New Orleans Academy of Art.

For 17 years, he lived in New Orleans where he was well known for his paintings of the French Quarter, including a series on New Orleans Jazz. He was honored by the New Orleans Philharmonic Society with an exhibition of these works in the Opera House. One of the paintings was presented to the President of Argentina as a good will gift by DeLesseps Morrison, Mayor of New Orleans at the time, and subsequently, Ambassador to the South American States under President Kennedy. Another painting was presented to the Kennedy Memorial Collection.

Kit was represented by Maxwell Galleries in San Francisco, and E. Lorenz Borenstein Gallery in New Orleans.

He lived in San Francisco from 1958 to 1963. Disenchanted with big city life, he and his artist wife, LoWayne, moved to Dinuba, a small farm town in the San Joaquin Valley. In 1967, Kit and LoWayne moved to Auberry, a small community in the Sierra Nevada foothills. He continued to paint and also taught watercolor classes.

Kit passed away on June 11, 1997, at the age of 76 after a long battle with heart disease.


  1. I believe I have one of his watercolor paintings. I bought it at a second hand furniture store in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I would be interested to know more about his work

  2. I'd be happy to share more information about his work.... do you have an Email address so we can correspond? Or, post any questions and I'll answer through this blog!

  3. We have two of his acryllic paintings, should we have them appraised and insured?

  4. I just found some letters (June 1944) that Pvt. Sidney Kittinger sent to my father from Europe during WW2. My father taught at Western Ky State Univ. and apparently they had become friends while there. Sidney wrote from Italy while my father was in basic training at Fort Hood. Sidney included a fantasic pen ink drawing on the front page of the letter titling it "Army Logic". From one letter- "I am now abroard looking the war squarely in the face, and it is not a pretty picture at all, I have no idea when I will get back to the states, but I am sure it will be quite a while. When I do come back I intend to have a party to end all parties." In another letter he writes (after having just come off the front lines), "Dont let anyone glamorize this was war to you. It's no good. I am sweating going back up(to the front line). I don't believe I could stand it up there again." From his writings, he sure sounded like a character, especially talking about the girls in Italy.

  5. Who could appraise a water color done by kittinger in 1955 New Orleans area a kitchen scene?

  6. Where can I found a list of his painting? How valuable are they?

  7. I have a Kittinger watercolor which appears to be part of the New Orleans Jazz collection dated 54. I am sure this would be of some value to someone who follows his work or work of this period. I cannot find more information about this artist online. Do you know where I could have this piece appraised?

  8. Hello,

    I have two Kittinger paintings from the 1950's. I'm looking for information about him.