Fred R. Kline

Fred R Kline

Fred R. Kline (born November 3, 1939, Hagerstown, MD) is an art historian, writer, poet, sculptor, private art dealer and public gallerist since 1980 in Santa Fe, NM, and additionally in San Antonio, TX during a period in the 1980s. He is known for his discoveries of lost art, including paintings, drawings and sculpture by Old Masters as well as 19th and 20th-century American and European artists. Many of his discoveries have been acquired by prominent museum, corporate and private collections around the world.

Kline's youth was spent in the U.S. east coast and in San Antonio during the 1940s-1950s. He served in the United States Marine Corps 1960-62 and was stationed in Japan and Southeast Asia during early reconnaissance for the coming Vietnam War. He holds a B.A. in English and a M.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University (1968), studying with James Schevill, Kay Boyle, Wright Morris, Rod Serling, Eric Hoffer, James Liddy, among others.

He has held teaching positions at Columbus College of Art & Design English Department (1968–72) and Cornell University English Department where he was also Associate Director of University Relations working with President Frank Rhodes(1979–80).


Kline moved to Santa Fe, NM with his family in 1980 to begin his career as a private art dealer; within a year, he had discovered a painting by George Inness, the 19th c. American landscape painter, the sale of which purchased his first house there. Initially including American Indian Art among his collecting and dealing interests, he preferred to repatriate sacred objects back to the tribes—several objects returned to the Onondaga and Seminole were notably recognized in "Wisdomkeepers" (Steve Wall and Harvey Arden, Beyond Words Publishing. 1990, pp. 76–85, various other pages) and in "Travels in a Stone Canoe"( Harvey Arden and Steve Wall, Simon & Schuster, 1998, Chapter 14, pp. 201–211, various other pages).

Kline calls himself an ``art explorer,’’ one who brings an informed eye and open mind to a sleuth-like adventure of acquiring vanished masterpieces and restoring their identities (see link below:New York Times, 4.2.2002:"An Art Explorer Finds the Real Creators of Works"). He has unearthed notable works by important artists in auctions, estate sales, antique and art galleries, and in the most unlikely resale shops and flea markets. He stresses evidence-supported connoisseurship, intuition and imagination, and a qualitative eye in analyzing art that rests final identification of an artist's work on signature comparative details. He cites as influential mentors: art historian connoisseurs Bernard Berenson (who was also in partnership with noted fine art dealer Sir Joseph Duveen) and Sir Kenneth Clark; philosopher and scientist Albert Einstein (a distant cousin); mythologist and teacher Joseph Campbell; art critic Robert Hughes; and fine art dealer, connoisseur and philanthropist Eugene Victor Thaw.

In the past 35 years, his discoveries of lost art have been featured twice in the New York Times;[1] (and "A Poem by Wild Bill Hickok," 1986 ); Art & Antiques ("You Never Know: An Ongoing Search for Lost Art in America," Feb.1989); Esquire ("Art Goes to Wall Street," July 1989); and in the art history textbook Framing America: A Social History of American Art by Frances Pohl,[2] which highlighted and illustrated his discovery of the ca. 1530 Aztec-Spanish (Indochristian) sculpture "La Virgencita del Nuevo Mundo" as among the first New World works of art. Among notable collections that hold Kline’s discoveries are: Thaw Collection of Master Drawings at The Morgan Library; J. Paul Getty Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Jenness Collection of Master Drawings at Clark Art Institute; Leeds Museum, England; Frances Lehman Loeb Art Museum at Vassar College; and the Aga Khan Collection of Old Master Drawings.


Kline's discoveries include:

  • Old Master and 19th century European paintings by Jan Brueghel the Elder (2-both included in Klaus Ertz, Brueghel Catalogues Raisonnes), Pier Francesco Mola, Jan van Goyen, Theodore Gericault, James Peale (2), and Sir Edwin Landseer.

  •  Old Master and 19th-20th century drawings by Leonardo da Vinci (Private Collection, Santa Fe—see reference below to "Leonardo's Holy Child"), Baldassare Peruzzi (Getty Museum), Andrea del Sarto (Aga Khan Collection), Annibale Carracci (Private Collection), Frans Snyders (Thaw Collection), Joseph Anton Koch (Thaw Collection,, John Martin (Jenness Collection), Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (in reference to "La Bella Principessa", mistakenly attributed to Leonardo da Vinci:, Evelyn de Morgan (Jenness Collection), Vincent van Gogh (Private Collection), Eugène Delacroix (Private Collection), Raphaelle Peale (Private Collection), James Peale (Private Collection), George Bellows (Private Collection), and Robert Motherwell (Thaw Collection).

  • A folio of unknown works collected by H. S. Ede, regarding French artist Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (1891-1915), containing rare and unknown drawings, unknown photographs including his last photograph before dying in World War I, letters, and the original H. S. Ede manuscript of Savage Messiah. The Edes Gaudier-Brzeska collection is now in the permanent collection of Leeds Museum, Leeds, England.

  • Nineteenth-century American paintings, highlighted by an unprecedented 29 "lost" works by George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879)—all were previously unlocated, and all were unsigned as was Bingham's custom. The new discoveries appear in the updated and revised, since 2005, George Caleb Bingham Catalogue Raisonne, of which Kline is founder, director-editor (, a project now supported by The Riverbank Foundation, Kansas City, MO ( Included in the GCBCR, and of particular importance, are two of Bingham's river-themed paintings: "Baiting the Hook" (his first river genre, 1841, Petersburg, VA), and "Young Fisherman, Hudson River Palisades" (his final river-themed painting and his only known Hudson River School genre, 1855, New York).

  • A memoir of Kline’s art discoveries, ``Leonardo’s Holy Child ~The Discovery of a Leonardo da Vinci Masterpiece: A Connoisseur's Search for Lost Art in America’’ was published May 10, 2016 by Pegasus Books, New York & London (

From 1972 to 1977, Kline was on the editorial staff of National Geographic Magazine, writing articles ("Baltimore" Feb. 1975; "Library of Congress" Nov. 1975; "San Antonio" Apr. 1976) and book chapters ("Alaska, High Roads to Adventure" 1976, appearing on the jacket cover climbing Matanuska Glacier). His adventures in the Arctic include: 1976 explorations in Baffin Island—in the footsteps of pioneer anthropologist Franz Boas in the Cumberland Sound area, exploring Auyuittuq National Park—the northern-most national park in North America, and a rare crossing of Pangnirtung Pass from Broughton Island at Davis Strait to the Hamlet of Pangnirtung. He reported on other American cities for National Geographic, notably the music and cultural scene in Nashville, TN.

Kline's public sculpture, ``Temple of the Hills,’’ in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was chosen for national recognition in Art in America (Annual Issue, August 1995) and the Smithsonian Outdoor Sculpture Survey ( &

At the invitation of U. S. Poet Laureate Josephine Jacobsen, Kline recorded selections in 1975 of his poetry at the Library of Congress ( from "I, Dodo"(1968), "Crazy Love"(1970), and "Birthsongs"(1972),three of his four books of poems. During the 1960s, as a young writer, Kline corresponded with Conrad Aiken, Norman Mailer, Peter Matthiessen, and Norman O. Brown.

From 2000, Kline and his wife Jann lived at 7th Heaven Ranch near Santa Fe, a 20-acre forested nature preserve at an altitude of 7,000 feet, where they established the Kline Art Research Library, open to students and scholars. Jann (Arbogust Sasser) Kline, art historian and artist, and Kline's wife of thirty years, died in 2011: their combined family included five children. Since September of 2017, Fred Kline has lived in Las Vegas, NM, where he works as a private art dealer and writer, and usually can be found walking his fine old dogs Woogie and Lulu twice daily in nearby Carnegie Library Park.

Academic Studies, Teaching, Academia

B.A. 1967(English) & M.A. 1968 (Creative Writing), San Francisco State University.  Courses of study (1957-69) in Philosophy & Humanities: San Antonio College, University of Texas/ Austin, Trinity University/San Antonio, University of the Americas/Mexico City, University of California/Berkeley.

Teaching & Academia
Public School: Bryant Middle School, Dos Palos, CA, 8th Grade English teacher, 1968-69.

College & University: Columbus College of Art & Design, Columbus, OH, English and Creative Writing Instructor, 1969-72

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY:, Special Assistant to President Frank Rhodes/Associate Director of University Relations/English Instructor/ Contributing Writer Cornell Alumni Magazine, 1979-80.

Board of Advisors, College of Santa Fe (2002-2006)


Some Publications & Works in Progress

Publication April 2016, Pegasus Books, NY: "Leonardo's Holy Child: An Art Explorer's Search for Lost Art in America & The Pursuit of Connoisseurship"

Four books of poems—49 Poems (Austin, 1964), I, Dodo(San Francisco, 1968), Crazy Love(Columbus, 1970), Birthsongs (Washington, 1972).  Notable recognition from Conrad Aiken, Norman O. Brown, Peter Matthiessen, Josephine Jacobson, and others. 

National Geographic Magazine, Editorial Staff Writer, Washington, DC, 1972-77.   Published National Geographic Magazine articles include “Library of Congress” (1975), “Baltimore”(1975), “San Antonio”(1976).  Traveled  arctic regions of Alaska and Baffin Island on assignments. Co-authored book, Alaska, High Roads to Adventure ( 1976, National Geographic Books).  Explored areas of Baffin Island including: Auyuittuq National Park, the northernmost National Park in North America; Penny Icecap; Cumberland Sound; mounted 1976 Pagnirtung Pass Expedition from Broughton Island to Pangnirtung (published account “Trek Across Pangnirtung Pass”, 1977, Washington Post Sunday Magazine).

“Collecting Artists of Texas—A Surprising State of the Arts” by Fred R. Kline (first published in ANTIQUES WEST, 1993), a widely reprinted and influential essay, 

Some of  Kline’s art discoveries were described  in his essay:  “You Never Know: An Ongoing Search for Lost Art in America” (ART & ANTIQUES, Feb.1989).  In July 1989, an article in ESQUIRE magazine featured Kline’s art investment activities.  An April 2, 2002 NEW YORK TIMES feature “An Art Explorer Finds the Real Creators of  Works” further documented some of Kline’s art discoveries.

Art Awards

Poems: Recorded selection of poems at Library of Congress in 1975 at the invitation of  U. S. Poet Laureate Josephine Jacobson.

Sculpture: Public sculpture site Temple of the Hills (Santa Fe, NM) chosen for special recognition and publication in annual selection of United States public sculpture in 1995 ART IN AMERICA ANNUAL.

Sculpture: Temple of the Hills chosen for inclusion in the Smithsonian United States Outdoor Sculpture Survey, 1997.

Art History

Fred R. Kline Gallery (then Private Dealers), from 1982 were among the earliest dealers specializing in historic Texas paintings. ( Ron Hall Gallery, Fort Worth and Valley House, Dallas were notable among the first late 20th c. dealers.)

Consultants in Historic Texas Paintings (Fred & Jann Kline) by invitation of the Curator of the Texas State Capitol, Austin, mid-1980s.  Organized and co-curated several notable loan exhibitions of 19th & early 20th century Texas paintings at the Capitol.

Director & Editor, George Caleb Bingham Catalogue Raisonne Supplement of Paintings and Drawings, ongoing from 2005,  see

Director & Editor, Thomas Nast Catalogue Raisonne of Paintings, from 2010

Early Geography & Military Service

Born November 3, 1939 in Hagerstown, Maryland, early childhood during WWII in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.  Former hometown: San Antonio, Texas, 1947-64; Thomas Jefferson High School (class of ’57).   United States Marine Corps (active duty 1960-62, Southeast Asia).


Fred & Jann Kline had a combined family of five children during their 28 years of marriage, and eventually nine grandchildren.  Jann Kline died in 2011.