Biography>Born in Ravenna, Ohio, Anna Althea Hills was a prominent California landscape painter who was also remembered as a civic leader in Laguna Beach. In addition to painting in her native state, she was active in Arizona. She was raised in Olivet, Michigan, and attended Olivet College. She studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, Cooper Union in New York, and privately with Arthur Dow. After further study at the Academie Julian in Paris and traveling throughout Europe for four years, she moved to Laguna Beach in 1913 and was painting in Arizona as early as 1914. The landscape of the West inspired her to adopt a light, colorful Impressionist palette. In spite of a severe spinal injury, she took adventurous painting trips into remote mountain areas. She also supervised a Sunday School for ten years, and was a six-year president of the Laguna Beach Art Association and helped raise funds to build the existing museum. Her early works of genre and interiors were much darker than her later California landscapes and marine scenes. She combined watercolor and oil and painted in a decorative style. Sources: Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940
Known for poetic landscapes, often sunset, illuminated by atmospheric light, Julian Walbridge Rix was early in his career an active painter in California and then on the East Coast. He was born in Peacham, Vermont on December 30, 1850 and moved with his family to San Francisco in 1853. Because of his mother's death, he went back to Peacham four years later to live with his grandmother and graduating from Peacham Academy in 1868. He returned to San Francisco where he was apprenticed to a trading firm and later worked in a paint store painting signs and doing decorative work. Primarily self-taught, he was briefly a pupil of Virgil Williams at the School of Design. He became close friends with Amédée Joullin and Jules Tavernier, and when the latter established an art colony in Monterey in 1876, Rix was one of the "Bohemians" who followed him there. His studio in Monterey was in the French Hotel, but in 1879 he returned to San Francisco and shared a studio with Tavernier at 729 Montgomery Street. The art market in San Francisco during this period was not a healthy one which prompted Rix to move to Paterson, New Jersey in 1880 and subsequently establish a studio in New York City. This milieu was what he seemed to need to find artistic success. His work was exhibited at the National Academy of Design during the 1880s. He studied art briefly in Europe during 1889 and upon his return, he found that his watercolor and oil paintings were in great demand in the East. He maintained an active interest and participation in the San Francisco art scene and in 1883 sent back 200 paintings for a successful solo show. In 1888 his illustrations appeared in "Picturesque California." Rix returned to California for several months in 1901 and painted the valleys and mountains near Monterey and Santa Barbara. A handsome man with a New England accent and blond sideburns, he never married and was called the Adonis of the profession. Following a kidney operation, Rix died in New York City on November 24, 1903 and was buried in the cemetery plot of a patron-friend in Paterson, New Jersey. Source: "Artists in California, 1786 to 1940" by Edan Milton Hughes
A leading member of the avant-garde symbolist artists in Chicago, Claude Buck moved there from his birth place of New York City in 1919. He was known for his "fantastic, sometimes disturbing images with allegorical and literary themes" (Kennedy 97) drawn from writings of Edgar Allen Poe, operas by Richard Wagner, classical mythology and New Testament writings from the Bible. Some of these early paintings had nude figures rendered in classical style to express abstract themes developed through dream-like landscapes and disregard of relative scale or relatedness between the figures. These paintings had luminist elements achieved with light-toned paints worked with transparent glazes. In the 1920s to earn money by gaining public favor and also expressing his increasing disdain for modernism, Buck did a number of "hyper-real" portraits, figures and still lifes. These proved popular and aligned him with the opponents of abstraction and their "Sanity in Art" movement whose headquarters were in Chicago. Buck taught drawing and painting at the Chicago Academy of Fine Art from 1921 to 1926, and at the Art Institute, where he took over classes of George Bellows. In New York City before coming to Chicago, Buck had a reputation as a radical artist. He took his first art training from his father, William R. Buck, from the time he was ages three to fourteen, and then until he was twenty-two, he studied at the National Academy of Design where he was nicknamed "Kid Hassam" because his painting reminded viewers of that of Claude Hassam. Buck worked as a scene painter in the theatre and at the Willet Stained Glass company, and in 1914 began portrait commissions to earn money. In New York he founded a group named the Introspectives, which reflected his own problems with melancholy during that period. Members, holding their first exhibition at the Whitney Studio in 1917, were artists who expressed their personal feelings and experiences and included Raymond Jonson and Emil Armin. In this phase of his career, Buck was focused on Old World styles of Leonardo da Vinci, Ralph Blakelock and Albert Pinkham Ryder. In 1929, the Arts Council of New York voted him one of the top one-hundred painters in the United States. In 1949, Buck and his wife, Leslie, moved to California to a studio-home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and ten years later they settled in Santa Barbara where he died on August 4, 1974. In California, he was a member of the Carmel Art Association, the Santa Cruz Art League that he served as President in 1953,and the Santa Barbara Art Association. His paintings are in the collections of the Santa Cruz Public Library; the Santa Cruz City Museum as well as the Spencer Museum in Lawrence, Kansas; the Brigham Young University Museum; and the Museum of Elgin, Illinois.
Fredrick Wagner was born in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in 1864. He received a scholarship to study art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under Thomas Eakins and in 1884 was made chief Demonstrator of Anatomy there. In 1885, Wagner left the Academy to make a painting tour of San Antonio, Texas, and then went on to Los Angeles, California, where he painted a number of landscapes and portraits. He returned to Philadelphia as an illustrator for the Philadelphia Press until 1902, and then moved to Norristown, Pennsylvania to paint full time. In 1912, Wagner opened a Philadelphia studio and taught classes in outdoor painting at Addingham, and later, at the Pennsylvania Academy's summer school in Chester Springs. His reputation grew, and he took on additional classes at his studio in the Fuller Building. In 1913, Wagner exhibited in the now famous Armory Show in New York City. He exhibited frequently at the Pennsylvania Academy's annual exhibitions, and in 1914, was awarded the Fellowship Prize. He was awarded Honorable Mentions from the Pittsburgh International, the Philadelphia Art Club, and the Carnegie Institute in 1922. His paintings are in the collections of the Cleveland Museum; St. Louis Museum, MO; Fort Wayne Museum, IN; Kalamazoo Museum, MI; Rochester Museum, NY; Worcester Art Museum, MA, and the Reading Museum, PA. Fred Wagner died in Philadelphia in 1940.
A painter of realistic landscapes reflecting a vanishing wilderness in America, Robert Wood (not to be confused with Robert E Wood) is reportedly one of the most mass-produced artists in the United States. His painting became so popular he was unable to meet all of the demands, and many of his works were reproduced in lithographs and mass distributed as prints, place mats, and wall murals by companies including Sears, Roebuck. He was born in Sandgate, Kent on the south coast of England near Dover, the son of W.L. Wood, a famous home and church painter who recognized and supported his son's talent. In fact, he forced his son to paint by keeping him inside to paint rather than playing with his friends. At age 12, Wood entered the South Kensington School of Art. As a youth, he came to the United States in 1910, having served in the Royal Army, and he never returned to England. He traveled extensively all over the United States, especially in the West, often in freight cars, and also painted in Mexico and Canada. His itinerant existence took him to Illinois where he worked as a farmhand, to Pensacola, Florida where he married, briefly in Ohion, Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon. In 1912, he was in Los Angeles, and In the late 1920s and early 1930s, in San Antonio, Texas, where he lived and in 1928 exhibited in the "Texas Wildflower Competition." From San Antonio, he gained a national reputation for his strong colored, dramatic paintings. Some of that prestige has been credited to his asssociation with Jose Arpa, prominent Texas artist. Wood also gave art lessons, and one of his students was Porfirio Salinas. During this period, Wood sometimes signed his paintings G. Day or Trebor, which is Robert spelled backwards. In 1941 he went to California and painted numerous desert and mountain landscapes and coastal scenes. He lived in Carmel for seven years, and then moved to Woodstock, New York, but he soon returned to California, settling first in Laguna Beach, then San Diego, and finally in the High Sierras, where he and his wife built a home and studio near Bishop and lived until his death in 1979.
Artist Biography Austrian sculptor was born in Vienna in 1865. His teachers were Karl Waschmann (1848-1905), known for his ivory sculptures and portrait plaquettes of contemporary celebrities, and Stefan Schwartz (1851-1924), who exhibited in Paris, including the Exposition Universelle of 1900 where he won a gold medal. Kauba’s intricate bronzes, imported to the United States between 1895 and 1912, were cast at the Roman Bronze Works. Kauba was part of the nineteenth-century tradition of polychrome bronze sculpture. There were several types of patinas on a single statue: he could render the color of buckskin, variously tinted shirts, blankets, feathers, as well as beaded moccasins. Reportedly, Kauba came to America around 1886. Inspired by the Western tales of German author Karl May, he traveled to the West and made sketches and models. Critics, however, pointed out inaccuracies of costume and other details. For instance, the guns that his “mid-nineteenth-century” figures use are models produced after 1898. Apparently he did all of his works back in Vienna. Besides the variety of color, Kauba’s bronzes show a great range of textures and his style is highly naturalistic. The sculptor loved ornament, some of which he rendered with coiled wire for reins, rope and feathers in headdresses. He successfully rendered figures in motion and often executed compositions with more than one figure. Berman (1974) illustrates non-Western subjects by Kaula, such as the pendants Where? and There (ca. 1910), a seated Scottish couple, impressive in the expressions and the details on patterned fabrics of both sitters. Another genre piece is Buster Brown, ca. 1910, and Nude on Vase shows Kauba’s versatility even further. The smooth skin contrasts with the stylistic, plant-like vase.