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 Taunton, England on Nov. 24, 1877. Moore studied at the Liverpool Art School and Royal Institute. In 1903 he immigrated to America and further studied with Henry Ward Ranger. By 1910 he was an established artist in NYC; in that year moved to Hawaii where he was purchasing agent for Hawaii Plantations and later served as director of the Honolulu Academy of Arts. In 1928 he sailed for California and worked briefly in Pasadena where he painted the Picture Bridge, a series of 41 murals in the Huntington Hotel. After a few months in San Francisco, he settled on the Monterey Peninsula. There he specialized in poetic depictions of the coast and other local scenery. Moore died in Carmel, CA on March 5, 1967. Member: Salmagundi Club; NY WC Club; AFA; Pasadena Society of Artists. Exh: Calif. WC Society, 1928; Nicholson Gallery (Pasadena), 1928; CGA; PAFA; St Louis Museum; GGIE, 1939; LACMA, 1942; Salmagundi Club, 1943; Santa Cruz, 1944; Society for Sanity in Art, CPLH, 1944 (1st prize and Logan medal); Carmel AA, 1945-46; NAD. In: Orange Co. (CA) Museum; USMC Headquarters (SF); Auckland (NZ) Museum; Honolulu Academy of Art. Source: Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Known for poetic landscapes, often sunset, illuminated by atmospheric light, Julian Walbridge Rix was early in his career an active painter in California and then on the East Coast. He was born in Peacham, Vermont on December 30, 1850 and moved with his family to San Francisco in 1853. Because of his mother's death, he went back to Peacham four years later to live with his grandmother and graduating from Peacham Academy in 1868. He returned to San Francisco where he was apprenticed to a trading firm and later worked in a paint store painting signs and doing decorative work. Primarily self-taught, he was briefly a pupil of Virgil Williams at the School of Design. He became close friends with Amédée Joullin and Jules Tavernier, and when the latter established an art colony in Monterey in 1876, Rix was one of the "Bohemians" who followed him there. His studio in Monterey was in the French Hotel, but in 1879 he returned to San Francisco and shared a studio with Tavernier at 729 Montgomery Street. The art market in San Francisco during this period was not a healthy one which prompted Rix to move to Paterson, New Jersey in 1880 and subsequently establish a studio in New York City. This milieu was what he seemed to need to find artistic success. His work was exhibited at the National Academy of Design during the 1880s. He studied art briefly in Europe during 1889 and upon his return, he found that his watercolor and oil paintings were in great demand in the East. He maintained an active interest and participation in the San Francisco art scene and in 1883 sent back 200 paintings for a successful solo show. In 1888 his illustrations appeared in "Picturesque California." Rix returned to California for several months in 1901 and painted the valleys and mountains near Monterey and Santa Barbara. A handsome man with a New England accent and blond sideburns, he never married and was called the Adonis of the profession. Following a kidney operation, Rix died in New York City on November 24, 1903 and was buried in the cemetery plot of a patron-friend in Paterson, New Jersey. Source: "Artists in California, 1786 to 1940" by Edan Milton Hughes
Born in Ogdenburg, Germany, Henry Raschen became one of America's leading painters of Indian portraits and figures in the 19th and early 20th centuries and was the first California artist to be committed to Indian themes. He also painted still lifes and landscapes, the latter with skillful play of light and shadow. In 1868, he and his family emigrated to Fort Ross, California where they spent one year and then settled in San Francisco. He took early art lessons at the San Francisco Art Association under Charles Nahl and Virgil Williams and also studied with noted figure painter of altar pieces, Joseph Harrington. Feeling the need for more extensive training, he went to Munich in the late 1870s and became part of the numerous California artists then studying in Munich at that time. There he became friends and a painting companion of William Merritt Chase, and he also traveled in Italy and France. In 1883, he settled in San Francisco and for the next eight years went with landscape painter Carl Von Perbandt on excursions among Indian tribes of California and the Southwest, and he gained much attention for the life-like quality of his paintings. From 1890 to 1894, he lived and had his studio in Munich where he was a successful painter and teacher, and after returning to San Francisco, won the gold medal at the Munich Exposition of 1898. He went on an expedition with Army General Nelson A. Miles when Miles and his troops captured Apache Chief Geronimo at Skeleton Canyon, Arizona, 30 miles northeast of Douglas. Many years later in Oklahoma, Raschen sketched Geronimo whom he visited in prison at Fort Sill. In the early 20th century, a key person in establishing Raschen as a major artist in San Francisco was Mrs. Phoebe Hearst, mother of publisher William Randolph Hearst. In 1906, damage from the earthquake and fire caused him to move across the bay to Oakland where he painted until his death in 1937. Source: Edan Hughes,
James Waltham Curtis (1839-1901) was an eminent Australian colonial artist whose work lives on as a tribute to Australia’s early days of European settlement. His approach is of technical, poetic and historical interest, emphasizing man’s battle with a primeval landscape and nature, his picturesque landscapes being fine examples of the late 19th century period which preceded the Heidelberg School. Curtis was an English painter and illustrator who it is believed, came to Australia during the Gold Rush. Curtis’ work plays an important part in the preservation of Australian history and is an excellent reminder of how life was in the latter part of the 19th century.
The Three Sisters
The Sisters were formed by erosion. The soft sandstone of the Blue Mountains is easily eroded over time by wind, rain and rivers and the cliffs surrounding the Jamison Valley are being slowly broken up. Aboriginal legends The commonly told legend of the Three Sisters is that three sisters (Meehni', 'Wimlah' and Gunnedoo') lived in the Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba tribe). They fell in love with three men from a neighbouring tribe (the Nepean tribe), but marriage was forbidden by tribal law. The brothers were not happy to accept this law and so decided to use force to capture the three sisters. A major tribal battle ensued, and the sisters were turned to stone by an elder to protect them, but he was killed in the fighting and no one else could turn them back. This legend is claimed to be an Indigenous Australian Dreamtime legend. However, Dr Martin Thomas, in his work "The artificial horizon: imagining the Blue Mountains", clearly shows that the "aboriginal" legend is a fabrication created by a non-Aboriginal local Katoomba, Mel Ward, presumably to add interest to a local landmark. The story originated in the late 1920s or early 1930s and is unknown prior to that date. The Aboriginal traditional owners, the Gundungurra, have a legend that includes the Sisters rock formation. They are currently[when?] developing a website which will include these traditional stories.
RODERIC O’CONOR An exact contemporary of Charles Gruppe, O’Conor is listed as both Irish and Irish-American (by Bénézit, in error). His place of birth was Roscommon, Ireland (on 17 October 1860). Regarded as Ireland’s most progressive painter of his time, O’Conor was close to both Gauguin and Armand Seguin in the Pont-Aven region, and he was wealthy enough to purchase paintings by Cézanne, Gauguin, Renoir, Manet, and others. O’Conor studied art in Dublin (1879-83), Antwerp (1883), then in Paris under Carolus-Duran and at the Académie Julian. He was working in Grèz-sur-Loing in the 1880s (Jacobs, 1985, p. 33), and began exhibiting his works at the Salon des Indépendants in 1890. Later he would take part in the Salon d’Automne. O’Conor first came to Brittany in 1890, and two years later he executed Yellow Landscape at Pont-Aven (Barnet Shine Collection, London). At Pont-Aven, O’Conor also did engravings. The Irishman befriended Gauguin there, also in 1892. The latter tried to persuade his “drinking buddy” O’Conor to accompany him to Tahiti. The Irish painter was certainly as avant-garde as Gauguin. Breton Peasant Knitting, already post-impressionistic, was painted in 1893, and The Farm at Lezaven, Finistère (National Gallery of Ireland), a year later. According to tradition, O’Conor inspired the character of Clutton, the failed artist in Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage. The letters between Seguin and O’Conor were published in 1989, as Une vie de bohème. In the introduction, Denys Sutton describes how O’Conor served as Seguin’s “father confessor.” O’Conor’s friend Clive Bell (in Old Friends, 1956, p. 163), pointed out that O’Conor “seems to have known . . . most of the more interesting French painters of his generation — the Nabis for instance.” O’Conor’s use of bold color anticipates the Fauves and the German Expressionists. His knowledge of avant-garde painting had a direct impact on the formalist critics Roger Fry and Clive Bell. O’Conor influenced both Robert Vonnoh and Edward Potthast in Grèz, and he oriented Alden Brooks (1840-1931) to Vincent van Gogh’s innovative techniques. Brooks stated that O’Conor was “considered by all the one genius of the crowd.” (Hill, 1987, p. 14). He died at Neuil-sur-Layon on 18 March 1940.