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Klaus Grutzka artwork and reference materials


Held at: National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum [Contact Us]50 S. 1st Ave., Coatesville, Pennsylvania, 19320

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Klaus Guido Grutzka (1923-2011) was a commercial painter and illustrator who focused on industrial scenery and subjects. He was born in 1923 in Breslau, Germany-Silesia (now Poland). His father, Johannes Grutzka, was an artist who inspired his love of art. Klaus attended art school in Kiel, northern Germany; he was also trained as an engineer.

Grutzka served as an engineer and officer in the Nazi German Navy (Kriegsmarine) during World War II for several years, starting in 1941. First he worked aboard a destroyer that was a decoy to lead British vessels away from German battle cruisers, then he was on a mine sweeper clearing the way for a commerce raider, then he was an engineering officer on a U-boat. He was taken as a prisoner of war to Scotland where he was held from 1945 to 1947, returning to his first wife and son in Germany in 1947. After he and his first wife divorced, Grutzka married a British woman, Sybil, before moving to the United States in 1961. He lived in northern New Jersey and later moved to Pennsylvania.

After moving to the United States, Grutzka focused on his artwork. Using primarily watercolor and acrylic on paper and canvas, Grutzka painted realistic and abstract portrayals of refineries, chemical plants, steel plants, factory interiors, and industrial towns. He had contracts with several client companies including Hess, ESSO, Bethlehem Steel. Grutzka became the head of the art department at the prestigious Pottstown Hill School before retiring to Lancaster County.


Alexander, Larry. "German War Vet Looks Back." Intelligencer Journal, May 29, 2006. A1, A5.

Marietty Restoration Associates and Rivertownes PA USA. "Klaus Guido Grutzka." Exhibition text found in collection.

This collection consists primarily of artworks by Klaus Grutzka, as well as photographs taken by Grutzka of finished works and of subjects for reference, diagrams and artworks by others collected by Grutzka for reference, and a very small amount of original documents such as correspondence about his works and newspaper clippings about him.

The collection spans every stage in the artistic process, from sketches, to studies, to color separations for illustrations, to completed paintings and published illustrations. He worked mostly in graphite, pen and ink, and watercolor on paper, and acrylic on canvas.

Most of Grutzka's artwork depicts industrial scenes, and many were done as a contract employee of steel companies. Common subjects of his works included mines, mills, automobiles, factories, ships, iron and steel works, blast furnaces, and industrial towns. Geographically, he focused largely in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, especially Pennsylvania and New York, as well as Europe (Germany and England), Russia, and other locations. There are also technical drawings and illustrations done by Grutzka for hire. Some artworks are abstracts or (non-industrial) landscape scenery. There are a few examples of his work before and during World War II, including his time as a POW.

Purchase, 2013.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum directly for more information.

National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Faith Charlton through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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