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.
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.
Born in San Francisco to a family of artists, Cuneo studied at the Mark Hopkins Institute with Arthur Mathews, before attending the Academie Colarossi in Paris from 1911-1913. Upon his return to California, Cuneo’s works were well received at the Panama Pacific International Exhibition in 1915, and was involved in every major art exhibition in the San Francisco area from 1916-1939. Also during these years Cuneo was the subject of numerous one-man shows, including those in Rome, Los Angeles, London, and Paris. Called “the Painter of San Francisco,” at the inaugural exhibition of the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1935, Cuneo had the most number of paintings displayed by any early California artist. In that same exhibition, his painting California Hills won the Museum’s Purchase Prize award. A pure impressionist early in his career, Cuneo’s style constantly evolved throughout his life, as he was always seeking and assimilating new methods of representation.
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Born in Hilo, Hawaii on May 15, 1861. During 1885 Hitchcock was a pupil of Virgil Williams at the School of Design in San Francisco. After returning to the Islands, he studied for four years with Jules Tavernier. He continued at the NAD for one year and in Paris at Académie Julian (1891-93). He had studios in Hilo and later Honolulu where he was a leader in the budding art scene. He made extended trips to the mainland and always spent time with old friends in San Francisco. Hitchcock died in war-torn Honolulu on Jan. 1, 1943. He is today one of Hawaii's most revered early artists. Member: Kilohana Art League; Salmagundi Club (NYC); Honolulu AA. Exh: Paris Salon, 1893; Gump's (SF); Alaska-Yukon Expo (Seattle), 1907; St Francis Hotel (SF), 1912 (solo); Panama-Calif. Expo (San Diego), 1915; Honolulu Academy of Arts, 1936 (retrospective); GGIE, 1939; NY World's Fair, 1939. In: Honolulu Academy of Arts; Boston Museum; Oakland Museum; Bishop Museum (Honolulu). Source: Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
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.