Vienna Historical Society
Preserving the History of Vienna and Mount Vernon, Maine

Klir Beck

                                                                                   Klir Beck and His Deer

Klir (pronounced CLARE) Alfred Beck was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania to Conrad Beck, an artist and lithographer, and his wife Bertha.  The family moved to California  during the first decade of Klir’s life and settled in San Mateo, just south of San Francisco, where the young boy received his primary education. 

By 1917, Beck was residing on the East Coast, continuing his education and working as an artist.  As he became more established and financially sound, he chose to live and work in Maine.  In 1924, he purchased property on the shore of Flying Pond and designed and built his home, itself an artistic masterpiece, moving in full-time in 1926.  He also established his workshop and studio in Mount Vernon, just up from the Baptist Church.

When the Great Depression struck, Beck became an artist for the W.P.A.  He executed displays for the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. and at the Key West Aquarium in Florida.  By 1937, Beck had returned to Maine and was working for the Maine Development Commission, as well as for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Among Beck’s many works were the Maine Exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, and the Maine exhibits for the Northeast Sportmen’s Shows from 1937 until well into the 1960s.  In 1957, Beck was tapped to restore and reopen the Maine State Museum, and it was during this time he created the wonderful dioramas that are now located in the tunnel between the Capitol Building and the State Museum. 

                                                                                              Klir Beck's House
                                                                                                 The Gnomes


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