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 painter known for mixed-media abstractions, Alexander Nepote was born on a ranch in California near Stockton. He studied at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, at Mills College, and at the University of California from where he received a Master's Degree. From 1945 to 1950, he was Dean of the Faculty at the California College of Arts and Crafts and served in the same capacity at San Francisco State College from 1950 to 1977. Memberships included the West Coast Watercolor Society, the Bay Region Art Association, and the California Watercolor Society.Source: Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Davis Schwartz was a landscape painter and illustrator. Born in Paris, Kentucky on June 18, 1879, Schwartz grew up in the grass country and, like St. Francis of Assisi, for whom he was named, developed a deep love of nature, and living things. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, and then at art schools at Dayton and Cleveland, Ohio. He then spent 3 years in Montreal studying under Adam S. Scott. He worked as an illustrator for the Cleveland "Plain Dealer" newspaper. After moving to Southern California in 1903, he worked for the "Los Angeles Times". He began a full time fine art career in 1915. In 1924 he moved to San Francisco for the installation of a huge map at the Ferry Building for the State of California. Schwartz remained in San Francisco after being named to the State Board of Harbor Commissioners. For 30 years he acted as the custodian of the Ferry Building map exhibit. Credit: Edan Hughes, "Artists in California"
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.
Sumida pottery is a heavy, brightly glazed pottery and often has human and animal figures attached as reliefs. This pottery has its name from the Sumida river in an area near Tokyo. The origins of Sumida pottery are in the mist. It is probably a creation of a family of potters from the nineteenth century. Sumida pottery was probably produced mainly for export to the West.
Charles Henry Harmon (1859-1936) was born on December 23, 1859 in Mansfield, Ohio. He moved to San Jose, California with his family in 1874 and at an early age was apprenticed to local portrait painter Louis Lussier. He later spent one year working in a local photography studio re-touching negatives. His youth was spent visiting the art galleries of San Francisco and, with no formal training, he began sketching and painting in 1883 in the beautiful Santa Clara Valley. He painted many landscapes of that area and made trips to the remotest parts of the Sierra and the Monterey Peninsula where he painted many coastal scenes. He began exhibiting in San Jose in the 1880s. By the turn of the century, his works were handled exclusively by Gump's and he was recognized as one of California's foremost painters. In 1905 he established a studio in Denver and for seven years concentrated on the rugged landscape of the Rocky Mountains. While there, the Santa Fe, Western Pacific, and Colorado Midland railroads commissioned him to paint scenes along their routes. After his time in Colorado, he returned to San Jose where he remained for the rest of his life. Harmon died there on October 14, 1936 and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery. Exhibited: Mark Hopkins Institute, 1897-98; Gump's (San Francisco), 1899; Berkeley League of Fine Arts; California Artists, Golden Gate Park Museum, 1915; Stanford Art Gallery, 1923; Rosicrucian Art Gallery, 1949 and Triton Museum, 1971 (retrospectives). Works held: San Jose Civic Auditorium; Clarke Museum (Eureka); California State Library; Denver Public Library; Santa Fe Railway. Source : Edan Hughes Artists in California.
Landscape painter. Born on Aug. 26, 1865 in Stockton, CA when it was still a small frontier town. Mersfelder began drawing at an early age and in his teens moved to San Francisco where he studied for three years at the School of Design under Virgil Williams. While studying at that school, he often visited the nearby studio of William Keith who offered criticism. Mersfelder then moved to NYC where he had a studio for a few years. During his stay there, he exhibited at the first exhibition of the Society of American Artists. He also enjoyed the hospitality and criticism of George Inness and A. H. Wyant. He later exhibited in Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, and Baltimore. He won a bronze medal at the Louisiana Purchase Expo (St Louis) of 1904 and was awarded the Klio Assn prize at the annual exhibition held at the AIC where 18 of his canvases were accepted by the jury. He had a studio in Portland, OR in 1889 before returning to San Francisco in 1891. He was active in the local art scene when not out on painting forays in northern California. The year 1915 was spent in San Diego. Mersfelder lived his final years in Berkeley, CA and died there on Oct. 23, 1937. Although he made no known European trips, his works bear evidence of strong influence by the French Barbizons. Many of his landscapes of the rugged, old oaks of California compare favorably with those painted by William Keith during his late period. Exh: Calif. State Fair, 1882; Mark Hopkins Inst., 1897; Gumps (SF), 1900. In: St Francis Hotel (mural, Mt Tamalpais); Oakland Museum; CHS. CSL; BC; Ber; AAA 1907; DR.
Two Grey Hills rugs are woven of natural, undyed, handspun wool in whites, blacks, & browns. Weavers produce subtle shades of these basic hues by carding together various colored wools. Because of the considerable time and effort required to prepare the wool for this style, weavings using these yarns may cost twice as much as those made from commercial yarns. Like other styles with borders, many Two Grey Hills rugs have a spirit line or spirit trail-- a single line of light colored weft near the top of the design, running through the border to the edge of the rug. This spirit line is meant to release the weaver's creative energies from the rug back to the Universe so that a weaver's spirit will not be trapped within the completed rug.
george h. Gay was well known for his watercolor landscapes, seascapes and paintings of rivers and ships, mostly along the shores of new england. Gay also painted snowscapes, but these are scarcer. It is unusual to find an oil painting by this artist, as he worked mainly in watercolor. Some of his works display a tonalist aesthetic. He was born in milwaukee, wisconsin on july 2, 1858, and lived in chicago and then in 1889, settled in bronxville, new york. Gay was a pupil of paul brown and henry elkins in chicago. He is known to have exhibited at the national academy of design in 1890; boston art club, 1890-1900; and boston art club, 1897. Shortly before his death in 1931, george gay's address in 1929 was known to be 100 kraft ave., bronxville, ny.