A native of New York and the son of an engraver, James David Smillie earned his early reputation for his etching skills but later for watercolor landscapes. He began etching at age 8, learning from his father, James Smillie (1807-1885). At age 14, he did a set of plates illustrating John Milton's epic poem, Paradise Lost. He had a job as a bank note engraver, and then he and his father had a business, collaborating as engravers with a specialty of bank-notes. They also did the engravings for the 1857 Mexican Boundary Survey Report. James David Smillie helped organize the New York Etching Club, and he was the U.S. representative to supply examples of American etchers' work to the Painters-Etchers Society of London. Although he continued working with etching, drypoint, aquatint and lithography, in 1865, he began doing landscape painting and was especially interested in mountain scenery. Smillie traveled in California in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in Colorado in the Rocky Mountains, and in the eastern United States in the Catskills and Adirondacks. From these trips he did illustrations that were published in 1872 in the magazine Picturesque America. In 1881, Smillie got married, and the couple had two sons. By 1884, he was in France, and spent much time there doing prints of landscapes, figures, portraits and cityscapes. Between 1888 and 1896, he produced a set of drypoint floral still-life prints. James David Smillie founded the American Watercolor Society and served as president and treasurer. He also taught classes at the National Academy of Design in 1868 and from 1894 to 1903.
Painter, illustrator, printmaker and muralist, Jesse Arms was born in Chicago, IL on May 27, 1883. She began her studies at the Art Institute of Chicago, and continued with J. C. Johansen and Charles Woodbury. In 1911 she obtained employment with Herter Looms in NYC and assisted Herter with the mural in the St Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Upon returning to Chicago in 1915, she married Cornelis Botke. The Botkes moved to Carmel CA in 1919. After an extended trip to Europe, in 1927 they settled on a ranch in Santa Paula, CA where she remained until her death on Oct. 2, 1971. She made a career of bold, decorative paintings of birds both in oil and watercolor, and often used gold leaf in her paintings. From about 1917 her work won many awards both in Chicago and Southern California. Member: Calif. Art Club; Calif. WC Society; Nat'l Ass'n of Women Artists; Carmen AA; Chicago Society of Etchers. Exhibited: AIC NAD; PAFA; LACMA; CPLH; Springville (Utah) High School, 1928; GGIE, 1939; Paris Salon. Awards: Cahn prize, AIC, 1918, Shaffer prize, 1926, Carpenter prize, Chicago Society for Sanity in Art, 1938. Works held: Art Institute of Chicago; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; Municipal Gallery, Chicago; Mills College, Oakland; San Diego Museum. Murals: I Magnin Co. of Los Angeles; Woodrow Wilson High School in Oxnard, CA; Noyes Hall at the Univ. of Chicago; Kellogg Factory, Battle Creek, MI
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
California impressionist oil painting by Carl Sammons titled on reverse Sonora Pass signed lower right. Measuring 12 x 16 inches in excellent condition framed in a quality hand carved 24k gold leaf frame 18 x 22 inches overall.
Carl Sammons in recent years has reached a high acclaim for his works, this recognition for his paintings has let to selling at record prices at auction. A painting this size sold for $8475. at John Moran auction 2/15/05. This painting is a fine example of this sought after artists work. Please email for extensive biography on Sammons.
Anna Althea Hills was born January 28, 1882 in Ravenna, Ohio. She studied at the Chicago Art Institute; Cooper Union Art School in New York City; she worked with Arthur Dow (1857-1922) and later studied at the Academie Julian in Paris. While in Europe she studied with John Noble Barlow (1861-1917). In 1912 she moved to Laguna Beach, California becoming a leading member of the Laguna Beach art community. She was an active member of the California Art Club, held a membership at the Washington Watercolor Club and served at the Laguna Beach Art Association as president from 1922 to 1925 and from 1927 to 1930. Hills was highly regarded as an art teacher and encouraged the study of the visual arts at the local public schools. Captivated and inspired by her new surroundings, she created atmospheric impressionist landscapes showing a reverence and appreciation of nature. The subjects of her plein-air landscapes varied from treescapes, the Laguna Beach coastline, Mission San Juan Capistrano, the vast Southern California and Arizona deserts, Santa Ana Canyon, arroyos and interior scenes. Hills won the Bronze Medal at the Panama-California Exposition, San Diego in 1915; the Bronze Medal at the California State Fair, 1919; and the Landscape Prize at the Laguna Beach Art Association, 1922, 1923. She died at the early age of forty-eight on June 13, 1930 in Laguna Beach, California.
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,