Born in Oakland, California, in 1903, Kloss grew up in the Bay Area. She attended the University of California at Berkeley, where she studied with Perham Nahl, her instructor in life class and anatomy, who also gave a course in etching. Amazed by the first print she pulled from the press, Nahl predicted she would be an etcher. Kloss spent two additional years of study at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco and the College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. In 1925 she married Phillips Kloss, a poet, and they made a honeymoon journey to New Mexico. It was a decisive point in Kloss’s career, initiating a lifelong fascination with the the landscape of the Southwest and the Native American peoples who inhabited the region.
National Museum of American Art (CD-ROM) (New York and Washington D.C.: MacMillan Digital in cooperation with the National Museum of American Art, 1996)
Gene Kloss and her husband, the poet Phillips Kloss, were notable figures in the Anglo community of Taos. The couple visited the area in the 1920s while on their honeymoon, and looking back on her first experience of a vibrant southwestern sunset, Gene wrote that “I was a New Mexican from then on.” The Klosses lived in Berkeley, California, in the cold months and returned every summer to Taos until they settled there permanently. Phillips crafted poems while Gene produced etchings and paintings of the Pueblo communities and spectacular landscapes. They chose homes that offered inspiring views from every window, and Gene wrote that “An artist must keep in close contact with nature and man’s fundamental reliance on nature in order to produce a significant body of work.” (Bradley, Gene Kloss: Graphic Works from Six Decades, 1984)