William Wendt, California Impressionist

22 Dec

wendt-november-days-1935William Wendt, November Days (1935)

wendt-The-Green-Earth-San-Juan-Capistrano-1923William Wendt, The Green Earth, San Juan Capistrano (1927)

Note: click on any image to enlarge

Happy holidays!  William Wendt (1865-1946) was born in Bentzen, Germany and immigrated to the United States in 1880.  He began his artistic career in Chicago, painting commercial “formula” pictures, but was deawn to studio painting.  In 1894 and 1896 he and his friend George Gardner Symons traveled and painted in England and California and later along the east coast of the United States and then Germany and France.  In 1906 he married sculptor Julia Bracken, and the couple moved to California.

wendt_photoWilliam Wendt (c. 1930s)

Wendt went to great trouble searching out beautiful locations to paint.  His earlier paintings are lyrical — evocative of the Luminists — while his later works have a more rugged quality akin to North American wilderness painters such as Tom Thomson.

wendt-summer-thaw-1913William Wendt, Summer Thaw (1913)

wendt-cliffdwellersWilliam Wendt, Cliffdwellers (date unknown)

Known as the “dean of Southern California artists,” in 1911 Wendt became the first President of the California Arts Club and also held memberships in The American Federation of Arts, the Chicago Society of Artists, the Laguna Beach Art Association, the National Academy and the National Arts Club of New York.  His work is found in many museums, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Laguna Art Museum.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWilliam Wendt, Green Pastures and Ponds (1937)

wendt-houses-at-arch-beachWilliam Wendt, Houses at Arch Beach (date unknown)

wendt-forest-interior-1898William Wendt, Forest Interior (1898)

So much for the official biography — don’t you just love Wendt’s art?  I especially love his later work with its bold, uncompromising use of color.  There’s a looseness to it that I find very appealing.  Wendt frequently painted locations that were too remote for all but the most adventurous of his contemporaries, and his dedication paid off with masterful depictions of some of the most hard-to-reach locations.  Absolutely gorgeous.  Thank you, Mister Wendt!

wendt-untitled18William Wendt, date and title unknown

wendt-spring-1916-2William Wendt, Spring (1916)

wendt-mountain-ranchWilliam Wendt, Mountain Ranch (date unknown)

Wendt-Ranch-in-the-ValleyWilliam Wendt, Ranch in the Valley (date unknown)

Wendt-When-Fields-Lie-FallowWilliam Wendt, When Fields Lie Fallow (date unknown)

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