Thad Emory Leland by John Hovard ◦ The paintings of Thad Leland reflect his enduring association with the horse including the cultural spectacle of the Peruvian Paso, polo horses and racing thoroughbreds. Working in pastels, oils, acrylics, and watercolors, Thad Leland left a beautiful legacy of the spirit and tradition of the horse, its cultural harness and how man interacts with this spirit. It all started for Leland when he was a boy in Michigan, exercising the fine horses of Detroit millionaires. He went home and sketched these horses, which began the lifelong journey to recreate the spirit and beauty of the horse. Thad Emory Leland was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1914 and passed away in Pebble Beach, California, in 1987. He studied art at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, received a B.A. in fine art from the University of Michigan where he studied with Sarkis Sarkisian and John Carroll. Before the war, he exhibited throughout Wisconsin and Michigan, and was awarded a mural commission for the New York World's Fair. After World War II he received a masters degree in fine art from Stanford University. In the early 60s, his diligence to study equestrians continued with his painting and sketching of polo events at Pebble Beach, thoroughbred racing at Bay Meadows and Golden Gate tracks, and western riding events at the Salinas Rodeo and Monterey County Fair. He became sought after for commissioned portraiture.
JOSEPH P. FREY (1892-1977 was born in Walla Walla, Washington on October 17, 1892. At age sixteen Frey began his art studies at the Art Institute of Chicago. He opened his first studio in 1915 in San Francisco during the furor of the Panama Pacific International Exposition and painted many harbor scenes in and around the bay. After serving in World War One, he sailed out of San Francisco and spent many years at sea working as a chef and studying painting in various ports. By 1928 he had settled in southern California where he lived and worked as a chef in Los Angeles, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara. Frey died in Hawthorne, California on August 17, 1977. His work includes landscapes and marines. Member: Painters & Sculptors of Los Angeles. Biography Courtesy Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940".
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.