Born in Braunschweig, Germany on Aug. 16, 1839. Schafer may have studied art in Düsseldorf since his paintings resemble those of other Düsseldorf-trained artists; however, he is believed to have been self-taught. He came to the U.S. in 1876 and arrived in San Francisco in 1880. After establishing a studio, he began exhibiting regularly with the local art association and the Mechanics' Institute Fairs. A peripatetic painter, he made regular sketching trips throughout the Northwest including Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska. During his last years he painted theatrical scenery in San Francisco and Oakland theaters. Schafer had a home in Oakland from 1880 until his death on July 18, 1927. His landscapes, which often include Indians, were mostly done before 1890 and number about 500. Due to alcoholism, his works are often uneven in quality. Exh: Mechanics' Inst. (SF), 1879-84; Calif. State Fair, 1880, 1894. In: Oakland Museum; Seattle Museum; Monterey Peninsula Museum; Shasta State Historical Monument; Bancroft Library (UC Berkeley); CHS; Crocker Museum; Hoover Inst. (Palo Alto); Museum of Church History & Art (Salt Lake City); Society of Calif. Pioneers; Sonoma Co. Museum (Santa Rosa); Yosemite Museum; Alameda Public Library; Craigdarroch Castle (Victoria, B.C.) Source: Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
HUNT, Esther Anna (1875-1951). Painter, sculptor. Born in Grand Island, Nebraska on August 30, 1875. Esther Hunt moved to San Diego in 1881 and she grew up on a ranch there. From 1896-1900 she worked as an artist in Los Angeles. Upon moving to San Francisco, she studied art at the Mark Hopkins Institute (1901). As a means to finance her art studies, she began painting Chinatown subjects which she sent to a New York dealer who readily sold them. After studying portraiture with William M. Chase in New York City from 1905-06, she continued her studies for six years in Paris. While in Paris her portrait of her sister was hung in the Paris Salon. Returning to California, she had a studio in Los Angeles for four years and from 1918-27 she lived in San Francisco; during 1927-31 she lived in Greenwich Village in New York City. The years 1932-46 were again spent in San Francisco. Her oils, watercolors, etchings, and colored ceramic figurines were very popular with the general public during her productive years, having been reproduced commercially for postcards, calendars, prints, busts, etc. Hunt was very fond of the artistically-created and individually-named "children" she would never have in real life. After a stroke ended her career, she was taken to the Santa Ana (CA) Rest Home. A spinster, she died there on March 4, 1951. Member: Laguna Beach Art Ass'n. Exhibited: Panama California Expo (San Diego), 1915 (gold medal); San Francisco Art Ass'n, 1916. Works held: California Historical Society.
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