Born in Germany, Kleiber came to the United States as a young man, expecting virgin forests and wide open spaces where he settled in Massachusetts. Instead he found factories and noise.
He left school after a year to help support the family and at age 18 joined the Forest Service.
Kleiber’s first assignment as a logger took him to the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. He soon became a ranger, building a cabin on the West Fork of the Tongue River. One of his longtime friends in the Big Horns was William Gollings, well known Western painter and cowboy.
From 1918 to 1923, the Forest Service sent Kleiber all over the Northwest, from Minnesota to Washington. During this time he taught himself to draw, making studies of landscapes, animals creeks, and mountains. He studied printmaking and etching.
In 1931, he received the Silver Medal Award from the California Print Makers Society. He was a member of the Associated American Artists.
Kleiber was also a poet. He published a small book of poems, Songs of Wyoming in 1963.
In the 1930s Kleiber’s art was shown in the United States and Europe, including one selected for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. In 1944 his nature studies were given a special showing at the National Museum in Washington, D.C.
Kleiber’s studio in Dayton, Wyoming was a rustic log cabin where he entertained visitors with his love of art and nature.
His work is in the collection of the Library of Congress; the Wyoming State Art Museum in Cheyenne, Wyoming; the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming; the Montana Historical Society in Helena, Montana; The Bradford Brinton Memorial and Museum in Big Horn, Wyoming; and the Buffalo Bill Historical Society in Cody, Wyoming.
He passed on at the Eventide Nursing Home in Sherida, Wyoming.