Born in Denver, CO on Aug. 7, 1897, Curtis was a resident of Seattle before moving to Los Angeles in 1914. He was inspired to become an artist by his teacher Rob Wagner at Manual Arts High School. After working as a bank teller and serving in WWI, he soon was able to support himself as an illustrator. He served as official artist of the U.S. Antarctica Expedition in 1939-40 and again in 1957. About 1960 he changed his residence from Los Angeles to Twenty Nine Palms, California, with summers in Moose, Wyoming. An avid mountain climber, his studio in the Grand Tetons was a rustic log cabin. In 1972 he moved to Carson City, Nevada, where he remained until his demise on March 17, 1989. He is best known for his landscapes of the High Sierra, Grand Tetons, and Antarctica. His works won dozens of medals and prizes from the early 1920s in southern California shows.
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.
Julius Jacques Rorphuro, (1861-1928). Born in Kuttlesheim, Alsace, France on June 6, 1861. Rorphuro studied at the French Academy of Arts before immigrating to America in 1874. He had further art training in Mentado, MN and Lyons, IA. At 17 he began driving cattle in the Black Hills and for ten years led the life of a cowboy in the Indian territories of Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Texas, and Kansas. Upon settling in San Francisco about 1888, he often spent summers in Fresno where he had relatives. Rorphuro died in Fresno on May 20, 1928. His known works include landscapes, horses, and western subjects. He exhibited at the Mechanics' Institute in San Francisco in 1889 and 1891, as well as the Fresno County Fair in 1892, and the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. He has works in the Oakland Museum and the Nevada Museum in Reno. Courtesy: Edan Milton Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940, 2002, page 954.
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.