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A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Van Soelen trained in art at the St. Paul Institute from 1908 to 1911, and then attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, 1911-1915. The Pennsylvania Academy awarded Van Soelen a Cresson Traveling Scholarship which enabled him to tour and study in Europe in 1913 and 1914. Shortly after launching his art career back in the United States, Van Soelen headed west, seeking relief from tuberculosis. After spending time in Utah and Nevada, he settled in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1916. Working as a commercial illustrator, he also began to sell his fine art paintings. To acquaint himself with the people and landscapes of New Mexico, Van Soelen spent time in the small towns and ranches of the region. Early on, scenes of ranch life became his favorite subjects. Van Soelen married Virginia Carr in 1922 and the couple moved to Santa Fe before permanently settling in nearby Tesuque, New Mexico in 1926. Van Soelen's reputation grew rapidly throughout this time, but like other New Mexico's easel painters, most of his customers were in the East. In the 1930s he established a second studio in Cornwall, Connecticut to be closer to that market. Van Soelen painted in a detailed, realistic style with a slightly muted palette and strong draftsmanship. Though most famous for his ranch-life genre paintings, he also painted landscapes and formal portraits, and produced several popular lithographs on cowboy themes. In 1938 Van Soelen won a mural commission for the Post Office in Portales, New Mexico. He was a Fellow of the National Academy and exhibited in various juried exhibitions including the National Academy, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Chicago Art Institute. In 1960 he was named Honorary Fellow in Fine Arts by the School of American Research.
Born in Denver, CO on Aug. 7, 1897, Curtis was a resident of Seattle before moving to Los Angeles in 1914. He was inspired to become an artist by his teacher Rob Wagner at Manual Arts High School. After working as a bank teller and serving in WWI, he soon was able to support himself as an illustrator. He served as official artist of the U.S. Antarctica Expedition in 1939-40 and again in 1957. About 1960 he changed his residence from Los Angeles to Twenty Nine Palms, California, with summers in Moose, Wyoming. An avid mountain climber, his studio in the Grand Tetons was a rustic log cabin. In 1972 he moved to Carson City, Nevada, where he remained until his demise on March 17, 1989. He is best known for his landscapes of the High Sierra, Grand Tetons, and Antarctica. His works won dozens of medals and prizes from the early 1920s in southern California shows. Member: Carmel Art Association; Artland Club. Exh: California Art Club, 1923-27; Laguna Beach Art Association, 1924; California State Fair, 1926; Cannell & Chaffin Gallery (Los Angeles), 1926; Ebell Club (Los Angeles), 1926; Painters & Sculptors of Los Angeles, 1926-31; National Academy of Design, 1930; Toledo Museum, 1931; American Painters & Sculptors, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1931, 1937 (solo), 1946 (solo); Oakland Art Gallery, 1932; Tuesday Afternoon Club (Glendale), 1934; Golden Gate International Exhibition, 1939; California Palace Legion of
Nels Hagerup (1864-1922) was born in Christiania, Norway in 1864 into a family that included the composer Edward Hagerup Grieg. Nels Hagerup studied at the Christiania Art School, Royal Academy in Berlin, and in Copenhagen with Carl Locher. After sailing to the West Coast as a merchant seaman in 1882, he settled in Portland, Oregon. There he was an instructor of drawing at the Bishop Scott Academy (now called Hill Academy) and was a founder of the Portland Art Association. About 1892 he moved to San Francisco where he remained. He worked there as a stevedore on the waterfront and later established a home and studio in the Sunset District at 1224 46th Avenue within walking distance of the ocean. Hagerup painted nearly 6,000 oils of sand dunes, ships and marine scenes. One of his more important works is the 16' x 18' mural in the Assembly Room of the San Francisco Merchants' Exchange Building. Hagerup was a master of atmospheric seascapes. He died of a heart attack in his studio on March 13, 1922. Exhibited: Lewis & Clark Expo (Portland), 1905 (gold medal); Alaska-Yukon Expo (Seattle), 1909 (gold medal); California Historical Society, 1963 (retrospective). Works held: California Historical Society; San Bruno (CA) Public Library.
A landscape painter and printmaker, he was born in San Francisco, California on July 29, 1884. Todhunter was a pupil of John Stanton and Arthur Mathews at the Mark Hopkins Institute, and Gottardo Piazzoni and Frank Van Sloun at the California School of Fine Arts, followed by study at the Art Students League in New York City. He began his career as an illustrator for Overland Monthly and later worked for the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Call, and Washington (DC) Times. He worked in New York as a commercial artist until 1912, when he returned to San Francisco to become art director for the H. K. McCann Company, a job he was to keep until his retirement in 1949. Todhunter's work includes etchings, lithographs, and landscapes of Marin County and the San Francisco Bay area. He died in his native city on February 11, 1963. Member: Bohemian Club; SWA; AAPL; Marin Society of Artists; SFAA; Calif. Society of Etchers. Exh: Bohemian Club, 1922-63; SFAA from 1922; OGlE, 1939; Society for Sanity in Art, 1940s.
HUNT, Esther Anna (1875-1951). Painter, sculptor. Born in Grand Island, Nebraska on August 30, 1875. Esther Hunt moved to San Diego in 1881 and she grew up on a ranch there. From 1896-1900 she worked as an artist in Los Angeles. Upon moving to San Francisco, she studied art at the Mark Hopkins Institute (1901). As a means to finance her art studies, she began painting Chinatown subjects which she sent to a New York dealer who readily sold them. After studying portraiture with William M. Chase in New York City from 1905-06, she continued her studies for six years in Paris. While in Paris her portrait of her sister was hung in the Paris Salon. Returning to California, she had a studio in Los Angeles for four years and from 1918-27 she lived in San Francisco; during 1927-31 she lived in Greenwich Village in New York City. The years 1932-46 were again spent in San Francisco. Her oils, watercolors, etchings, and colored ceramic figurines were very popular with the general public during her productive years, having been reproduced commercially for postcards, calendars, prints, busts, etc. Hunt was very fond of the artistically-created and individually-named "children" she would never have in real life. After a stroke ended her career, she was taken to the Santa Ana (CA) Rest Home. A spinster, she died there on March 4, 1951. Member: Laguna Beach Art Ass'n. Exhibited: Panama California Expo (San Diego), 1915 (gold medal); San Francisco Art Ass'n, 1916. Works held: California Historical Society.
Known for small scale, modernist urban views of New York City, he depicted the city as a jumble of architecture in varying sombre colors in a mood reminiscent of 19th century Romanticism. He had a highly original technique, which was covering a drawing with small dabs of paint and pushing spots of warm and cool color over one another, which dried into a kind of low relief. It took him about a decade, from 1929 to 1939, to arrive at this style and method that seemed right for him. He decided to paint what he saw without consciousness as to style or composition and with spiritual commitment, devoting himself to divinity in nature, separated from the modern world. By the 1960s, he was doing horizontal work in brighter hues that gave the viewer the impression of being swept along a street or urban path.
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Born near Falling Waters, West Virginia on a plantation a year after the Civil War, and raised in Baltimore, William Leigh became one of the foremost painters of the American West with a career of seventy-five years. Some people referred to him as the "Sagebrush Rembrandt". Trips to the Southwest began in 1906 when he made an agreement with William Simpson, Santa Fe Railway advertising manager, to paint the Grand Canyon in exchange for free transportation West. In 1907, he completed his Grand Canyon painting, which led to many more commissions and an extensive painting trip through Arizona and New Mexico. These travels inspired him to paint western subjects for the next 50 years, but it was not until the 1940s that he received much recognition. He painted in the Southwest nearly every summer between 1912 and 1926 and focused on the Hopi and Navajo Indians. In 1910, he traveled to Wyoming, where he painted in Yellowstone Park and did sketches, many which he later converted into large canvases such as "Lower Falls of the Yellowstone"(1915) and "Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone" (1911). His style was realistic, and his palette invariably had the Southwestern hues of soft pinks, reds, yellows and purples. In fact, his critics who knew little of the Southwest accused him of fabricating the colors. Many of his works are at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In March, 1999, the Historical Center of Cody, Wyoming held an exhibition of his field sketches and finished works depicting his experiences near Cody, Wyoming in the early part of the century, between 1910 and 1921. These years, many which he spent painting in the Carter Mountain vicinity, were considered crucial to his artistic development because he was exposed to western landscape. His companion during these travels was Cody taxidermist Will Richard who stirred his interest in wildlife.