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.
A painter of pop-art realism combined with a great respect for traditional methods and subject matter, Wayne Thiebaud is one of the most prominent of the Bay Area painters in California in the latter part of the 20th century. His reputation spread far beyond his own state. In his painting, he focuses on the commonplace in a way that suggests irony and objective distance from his subjects. He also makes a point of keeping an independent distance from the New York art scene. He was born in Mesa, Arizona, in 1920, and for one summer during his high school years he apprenticed at the Walt Disney Studio and then studied at an Los Angeles trade school the next summer. He earned a degree from Sacramento State College in 1941. From 1938 to 1949, he worked as a cartoonist and designer in California and New York and served as an artist in the United States Army. In 1950, at the age of thirty, he enrolled in Sacramento State where he earned a Master's Degree in 1952 and began teaching at Sacramento City College. In 1960, he became assistant professor at the University of California, Davis, where he remained through the 1970s and influenced numerous artist students. However, he did not have much following among Conceptualists because of his adherence to basically traditional disciplines, emphasis on hard work rather than creativity, and love of realism. On a leave of absence, he spent time in New York City where he became friends with Willem De Kooning and Franz Kline and was much influenced by these abstractionists as well as Pop Artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. During this time, he began a series of very small paintings based on images of food displayed in windows, and he focused on their basic shapes. Returning to California, he pursued this subject matter and style, isolating triangles, circles, squares, etc. He also co-founded the Artists Cooperative gallery, now Artists Contemporary Gallery, and other cooperatives including Pond Farm, having been exposed to the concept of cooperatives in New York. In 1960, he had his first one-man shows in San Francisco at the Museum of Art and New York at the Staempfli and Tanager galleries. These shows received little notice, but two years later, a 1962 New York Sidney Janis Gallery exhibition officially launching Pop Art, brought him national recognition although he disclaimed being anything other than a painter of illusionistic form. In 1963, he turned increasingly to figure painting, wooden and rigid with each detail sharply emphasized; in 1967 his work was shown at the Biennale Internationale, and in 1985, he was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.
N. (Newell) C. (Convers) Wyeth (October 22, 1882-October 19, 1945), is one of the most celebrated illustrators in the history of art. He grew up on a farm in New England, and studied at the Massachusetts Normal Arts School where he attended classes taught by illustrators Eric Pape and Charles W. Reed. During 1902-04 he studied with the great illustrator Howard Pyle in Wilmington, Delaware. Wyeth accepted a commission from Scribner's and the Saturday Evening Post to paint western scenes, and traveled in the west to gain first hand knowledge of subjects. He worked as a ranch hand in Colorado and rode mail routes in New Mexico and Arizona. In 1906, Wyeth and Carolyn Brenneman Bockius were married in the Wilmington Unitarian church, and they made their home in nearby Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. The focus of his painting soon shifted to the land and people of the region in which he lived. In 1911, Wyeth won a commission from Charles Scribner's Sons to illustrate a new edition of R. L. Stevenson's Treasure Island, a work that made him famous. He provided illustrations for dozens of other classic books, including Kidnapped (1913), The Black Arrow (1916), The Legends of Robin Hood (1917), The Last of the Mohicans (1919), and The Yearling (1939).
Born in Braunschweig, Germany on Aug. 16, 1839. Schafer may have studied art in Düsseldorf since his paintings resemble those of other Düsseldorf-trained artists; however, he is believed to have been self-taught. He came to the U.S. in 1876 and arrived in San Francisco in 1880. After establishing a studio, he began exhibiting regularly with the local art association and the Mechanics' Institute Fairs. A peripatetic painter, he made regular sketching trips throughout the Northwest including Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska. During his last years he painted theatrical scenery in San Francisco and Oakland theaters. Schafer had a home in Oakland from 1880 until his death on July 18, 1927. His landscapes, which often include Indians, were mostly done before 1890 and number about 500. Due to alcoholism, his works are often uneven in quality. Exh: Mechanics' Inst. (SF), 1879-84; Calif. State Fair, 1880, 1894. In: Oakland Museum; Seattle Museum; Monterey Peninsula Museum; Shasta State Historical Monument; Bancroft Library (UC Berkeley); CHS; Crocker Museum; Hoover Inst. (Palo Alto); Museum of Church History & Art (Salt Lake City); Society of Calif. Pioneers; Sonoma Co. Museum (Santa Rosa); Yosemite Museum; Alameda Public Library; Craigdarroch Castle (Victoria, B.C.) Source: Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Harriet Whitney Frishmuth was born on September 17, 1880 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A student of such renowned artists as Auguste Rodin and Gutzon Borglum, Frishmuth's reputation and career grew steadily throughout the first several decades of the twentieth century, with exhibitions at the National Academy of Design, the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, the Salon in Paris, the Golden Gate International Exposition (1939-1940) and the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors. Her favorite models were dancers, especially Desha Delteil - immortalized in Frishmuth's most famous work, The Vine - a model particularly popular with artists for her ability to hold difficult poses for long periods of time. The final exhibits of Frishmuth's work took place in New York City in 1929, but she remained active in the art world for many years following. Frishmuth passed away in 1980 at the age of 99. A proponent of the Beaux Arts style - Frishmuth was exceptionally critical of modern art, often calling it "spiritless" - her works can now be seen in some of the world's leading museums and collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Dallas Museum of Art, and Ohio University's Kennedy Museum of Art.
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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.
Lacaze was a painter who was heavily influenced by Cubism and Post-Cubism, particularly by fellow Bordeaux painters such as André L’Hote. He was born in Angoulême, Charente and studied at the Lycée Montaigne in Bordeaux and it was there, under an inspirational art master, that his desire to be an artist was initiated. He enrolled at L’École des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux and studied under André Edouard Marty. At first, his style was decidedly Cubist, showing the influence of Picasso through the aforementioned L’Hote. However he softened the linear effect somewhat as his career developed and this is particularly apparent in his paintings of nudes. He staged his first solo exhibition in Paris in Rue Visconti quite soon after leaving art school. He also exhibited through his career at other locations in Paris, his home city of Bordeaux, Sainte Maxine, Angoulême and Périgueux but he seems not to have had a particularly commercial attitude to his work apparently sometimes not even turning up to the opening nights. Lacaze was appointed Professor of Fine Art at Collège de Puyguillen and also joined the artistic group Maison des Artistes. Exhibitions: Paris, Galerie Visconiti; Périgueux, N.T.P.; Angoulême, Galerie Tison d’Argence; Bordeaux, Galerie du Loup; Sainte Maxine, Galerie L’Oleil Fauve. The Musée des Beaux Arts de Bordeaux also exhibited his work.
Biography, Carl Oscar Borg, N.A. (American, Born Sweden 1879-1947) Carl Oscar Borg was considered "a major American artist," though he was born in Grinstad, Sweden on March 3, 1879. Borg worked as a seaman and studied art in London before emigrating to New York City in 1902. He moved to California in 1903 and through the patronage of Mrs. Phoebe Hearst, was able to return to Europe for further study in Paris and Rome. Upon his return he taught at the California Art Institute in Los Angeles, and from 1918 to 1924 lived in Santa Barbara where he taught at the School of Arts. The interval years 1924 to 1935 were spent traveling to San Francisco, Los Angeles and the Grand Canyon. The subjects of his paintings included Hopi and Navajo Indians, cowboys, historical scenes, and California landscapes, seascapes and missions. He made three trips to Sweden in the 1930s, and when war broke out in Europe he was forced to remain there for the duration of the war. While in Sweden he had considerable fame and financial success in selling his paintings of Indians and desert scenes to art collectors. After World War II ended, he returned to Santa Barbara where he died on May 8, 1947. Awards: gold medal, St. Louis Exposition, 1904; first prize, Los Angeles Painters Club, 1909; silver medal, Versailles, 1914; first prize, California Art Club, 1915; silver medal, PPIE, 1915; gold and silver medals, Panama-California Exposition, San Diego, 1915; silver medal, Societe des Artistes Francais, 1920; silver medal, Pacific Southwest Exposition, 1928; and others. Major collectors: Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey; California State Library; Seattle Art Museum; Library of Congress; de Young Museum; Lowie Museum, University of California, Berkeley; Mills College, Oakland; Oakland Museum; Los Angeles Public Library; Santa Barbara Museum; National Museum of American Art; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle; Gothenburg Ethological Museum, Sweden; Phoenix Museum
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Richard Parkes Bonington was born in the town of Arnold, 4 miles from Nottingham in England. His father was successively a gaoler, a drawing master and lace-maker, and his mother a teacher. Bonington learned watercolour painting from his father and exhibited paintings at the Liverpool Academy at age 11. In 1817, Bonington's family moved to Calais, France where his father had set up a lace factory. At this time, Bonington started taking lessons from the painter François Louis Thomas Francia, who trained him in English watercolour painting. In 1818, the family moved to Paris to open a lace retail outlet. It was Paris where he first met Eugène Delacroix, who he became friends with. He worked for a time producing copies of Dutch and Flemish landscapes in the Louvre. In 1820, he started attending the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he studied under Antoine-Jean, Baron Gros. It was around this time that Bonington started going on sketching tours in the suburbs of Paris and the surrounding countryside. His first paintings were exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1822. He also began to work in lithography, illustrating Baron Taylor’s "Voyages pittoresques dans l'ancienne France" and his own architectural series Restes et Fragmens". In 1824, he won a gold medal at the Paris Salon along with John Constable and Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding. Bonington died of tuberculosis on 23 September 1828 at 29 Tottenham Street in London, only 25 years old.