Painter, etcher, and muralist, Will Sparks became one of California's premier artists, known for his mission and nocturnal adobe scenes. He was highly prolific, completing about three-thousand oil paintings. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and showed art talent as a youngster, selling his first painting when he was age twelve. He became a doctor, but his love of art prevailed. He attended the St. Louis School of Fine Arts and then went to New York and then Paris to the Academies Julian and Colarossi where he studied with Gerome, Harpignies, and Bouguereau. In Paris he earned money as an assistant to biologist Louis Pasteur for whom he made anatomical drawings. He was also much influenced by the Barbizon painters and Cezanne. He returned to St. Louis and in 1886 exhibited in the St. Louis Expo where he met Mark Twain whose stories of California inspired him to head West. He stayed briefly in Cincinnati and Denver and then California, where he did newspaper illustrations in Stockton and Fresno. In 1891, he settled in San Francisco, establishing a studio at 163 Sutter Street. He combined illustration work and writing for the San Francisco Evening Call with easel painting including all of the California missions. He was a member of the Bohemian Club, a free-spirited, fun loving group that lived "hand-to-mouth" for their art. He also painted in Arizona, and a painting Tucson was done in 1894. In 1904, he joined the faculty of the University of California, doing anatomy drawings for medical classes, and in 1907, he was a founder of the Del Monte Art Gallery. He died in San Francisco on March 30, 1937. His paintings are in the collections of the Huntington Library in San Marino and the Crocker Museum in Sacramento. Source: Edan Hughes,
James Waltham Curtis (1839-1901) was an eminent Australian colonial artist whose work lives on as a tribute to Australia’s early days of European settlement. His approach is of technical, poetic and historical interest, emphasizing man’s battle with a primeval landscape and nature, his picturesque landscapes being fine examples of the late 19th century period which preceded the Heidelberg School. Curtis was an English painter and illustrator who it is believed, came to Australia during the Gold Rush. Curtis’ work plays an important part in the preservation of Australian history and is an excellent reminder of how life was in the latter part of the 19th century.
The Three Sisters
The Sisters were formed by erosion. The soft sandstone of the Blue Mountains is easily eroded over time by wind, rain and rivers and the cliffs surrounding the Jamison Valley are being slowly broken up. Aboriginal legends The commonly told legend of the Three Sisters is that three sisters (Meehni', 'Wimlah' and Gunnedoo') lived in the Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba tribe). They fell in love with three men from a neighbouring tribe (the Nepean tribe), but marriage was forbidden by tribal law. The brothers were not happy to accept this law and so decided to use force to capture the three sisters. A major tribal battle ensued, and the sisters were turned to stone by an elder to protect them, but he was killed in the fighting and no one else could turn them back. This legend is claimed to be an Indigenous Australian Dreamtime legend. However, Dr Martin Thomas, in his work "The artificial horizon: imagining the Blue Mountains", clearly shows that the "aboriginal" legend is a fabrication created by a non-Aboriginal local Katoomba, Mel Ward, presumably to add interest to a local landmark. The story originated in the late 1920s or early 1930s and is unknown prior to that date. The Aboriginal traditional owners, the Gundungurra, have a legend that includes the Sisters rock formation. They are currently[when?] developing a website which will include these traditional stories.
SIMONPIETRI, Alfred H. (1916-2001). Painter. Born in Puerto Rico on June 20, 1916. While serving in the Army during World War Two, Simonpietri was in a plane crash. After the war he settled into a home in the Sunset District of San Francisco where he remained until his demise on December 2, 2001. A talented artist, he created hundreds of paintings, mostly nudes and still lifes. Biography provided courtesy of Edan Hughes Author Artists in California 1850-1940