Brought to New York City in 1850, William Keith was apprenticed to a wood engraver in 1856 working for "Harper’s" magazine. In 1858 (or 1859) he visited California for "Harper’s" and then after a trip to Great Britain, settled in California as an engraver in 1862. He began exhibiting paintings in 1864 in San Francisco where he opened his studio, after having been taught painting by his wife. The Northern Pacific Railroad commissioned him to do landscape paintings along its route about 1868. In 1869-70 he studied in Dusseldorf, Germany; in 1871-72, he shared a studio in Boston with William Hahn; and in 1872, he returned to California. A nature lover, he found there was “scarcely a mountain in three-fourths of California where he had not kept vigil for days as a time, studying every detail of color, flower, rock, forge, shadow, and sunshine.” Keith became Thomas Hill’s rival in monumental landscapes, saying, “I’d be satisfied if I could reach the power and success of Tom Hill.” When George Inness visited California in 1890, he worked in Keith’s studio for many weeks, and they made sketching trips together. The result for Keith was an influenced style reflecting the subjective rather than the spectacular. His "Majesty of the Oaks" painting sold at auction in New York City in 1903 for $2,300., and about the same time "Glory of the Heaven" sold at auction in San Francisco for $12,000. Of medium height with unruly curly hair, Keith had his studio next to the live oaks on the Berkeley campus where it was the center of the university-oriented California culture. The 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed 2,000 of Keith’s works.
A beautiful oil of an early California landscape of wild flowers lupine and poppies. Oil painting on canvas board signed lower right measuring approx. 12 x 16 inches. Framed in a contemporary gallery frame overall 20x24 inches. In excellent condition a fine early piece would be a fine addition to any collection.
Born in Oakland, California, Ramona Froyland, known as Mona, was a painter of still lifes, portraits, landscapes, marines and later in her life, Madonnas. Her parents were Mabel and Manuel Valencia, both artists who gave Ramona her early instruction. She later attended the California School of Fine Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. Ramona Valencia was a paternal descendant of General Gabriel Valencia, the first governor of Sonora, Mexico under Spanish rule, and the great granddaughter of a man who arrived in California in 1774 and became administrator of the Presidio in San Francisco where the family received many land grants. When she was six years old, in 1906, she and her family moved to San Jose because of the destruction of the San Francisco earthquake and fire. However, the family kept close ties to San Francisco where her father kept his studio. Beginning in the 1960s, Ramona Valencia taught art classes to children and adults from her studio in Castro Valley, California, and she died there on September 22, 1988. She was a member of the Hayward art Association and exhibited at Alameda County Fairs.
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.
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.