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Obituaries : Lynton R. Kistler; Modern Artists’ Lithographer

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Lynton R. Kistler, a pioneering California lithographer who printed the work of 20th-Century artists from Jean Charlot to Millard Sheets and Wayne Thiebaud, has died. He was 96.

Kistler died at his home in Laguna Hills Nov. 9, Tobey Moss of the Tobey Moss Gallery said Monday.

A native of Los Angeles, Kistler attended Hollywood and Manual Arts high schools and served in the Army during World War I.

He began his career in his father’s letterpress printing shop and quickly gravitated to the new offset lithography, a printing process using grease and water on flat stones and, later, on metal plates.

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Kistler met Charlot, Edward Weston and other artists through a friend, Merle Armitage, who was a modern art collector and manager of the Los Angeles Grand Opera Company. Soon Kistler became known as the best stone lithographer in the country.

Other artists whose work Kistler printed included Lorser Feitelson, Helen Lundeberg, Beatrice Wood, Hans Burkhardt, Eugene Berman, Clinton Adams, Palmer Schoppe and Joe Mugnaini. He also printed work by June Wayne, and inspired her in 1960 to open her Tamarind Lithography Workshop, now at the University of New Mexico.

In 1981, the Heritage Gallery exhibited 70 works by various artists printed by Kistler. At the time, he modestly told Times art critic William Wilson that the work had no particular Kistler touch. But, he said, he took pride in printing as the artists wanted and in technical expertise.

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Kistler taught lithography at UCLA Extension and, in 1950, published the book “How to Make a Lithograph.”

A collection of his lithographs and one of his earliest presses are in the Smithsonian Institution.


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