Hans Kleiber and the Natural Beauty of Wyoming

Photo of Hans Kleiber in ranger uniform, standing in front of log cabin with felled trees in the background.

Photo of Hans Kleiber. From the Hans Kleiber papers.

The magnificent scenery of Wyoming has inspired many artists, but Hans Kleiber’s work stands out for the medium he used to capture the mountains, wildlife, and people of the state.  Kleiber’s art was often created with line only, etched on zinc or copper plates.  From these plates prints were made. Occasionally the prints were tinted, but many said all they needed to with lines.

Photo of 3 men sitting inside the Woodrock Ranger Station in Wyoming. One of the men is playing a stringed instrument.

Interior of the Woodrock Ranger Station in Wyoming. From the Hans Kleiber papers.

Hans Kleiber (1887-1967) was born in Germany of Austrian parentage and immigrated with his family to the United States in 1900. He hoped to study art in New York, but lacked the money. He traveled to the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming in 1907 and became a forest ranger in the Tongue River District. Kleiber’s work for the forest service included fire-fighting, overseeing timbering operations, and long journeys through roadless wilderness. Satisfying as the work was, he still longed to develop as an artist. Kleiber retired from the United States Forest Service in 1923 to pursue art full time.

To learn more about Hans Kleiber and his collection at the American Heritage Center, please see the inventory for the Hans Kleiber papers and photographs, available here: https://rmoa.unm.edu/docviewer.php?docId=wyu-ah01172.xml.

Below are selected artworks drawn by Hans Kleiber from the AHC’s collection of his life and work:

Drawing in pencil showing group of geese flying over a small body of water.

“Evening Star” etching by Hans Kleiber.


Drawing in pencil of trees with mountains in the background and snow on the ground.

“At Timberline” etching by Hans Kleiber.


Drawing in pencil of five white swans flying over a body of water.

“Whistling Swans” etching by Hans Kleiber.

-D. Claudia Thompson, Processing Manager

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2 Responses to Hans Kleiber and the Natural Beauty of Wyoming

  1. Fred Lydic says:

    I have a Hans Klieber etching, signed in pencil entitled “The Big Horns”…it is quite similar to the above displayed piece entitled “At Timberline.”

    Could you enlighten me about the artwork that I have?

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