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 Harry Cassie Best  (1863 - 1936)

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Lived/Active: California/Ontario / Canada      Known for: landscape painting, newspaper cartoons

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Ad Code: 3
Harry Cassie Best
from Auction House Records.
Riders Entering Yosemite Valley
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Mount Pleasant near Petersboro, Canada, Harry Cassie Best became a noted painter of Yosemite National Park landscapes.

He and his artist brother, Arthur Cassie Best, were musicians with Harry playing the violin and Arthur the clarinet.  In 1887, Harry was first inspired to paint when traveling with their band he saw Mt. Hood in Oregon, and for several years, he observed the changing seasons and landscape of that mountain.

Moving with his brother to San Francisco when their band broke up, he studied with artist Alfred Rodriquez.  In 1891, he began submitting cartoons to the San Francisco newspapers, having been encouraged by cartoonist Homer Davenport whom he met in Silverton, Oregon.  For five years Best then worked as a cartoonist.

For his brother Best Art School run by his brother, Harry Best organized the basic sketch class.  In 1900, he "discovered" Yosemite where he built a studio-home at the foot of Bridaiveil Fall.  At that location, he was married to Anne Rippey, and they built the Best Studio, which also was a concession business.  He lived there the remainder of his life except from 1910, he spent the coldest winter months  in Arizona.  He also traveled to Paris and Italy, and in 1916 and 1920, to Hawaii.

One of his collectors was Theodore Roosevelt, who hung Best's painting of Mount Shasta in the White House.

Best's daughter married western landscape photographer Ansel Adams, and the Best Studio later became the Ansel Adams Gallery.

He died in 1936 in San Francisco.

Edan Hughes, Artists in California
Peggy and Harold Samuels, Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West

Biography from Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery:
Harry Cassie Best was born in Mount Pleasant near Petersboro, Canada in 1863.  As a young man, Harry and his brother Arthur traveled around the countryside of Oregon and California earning a living by playing instruments in a band.  In 1887 Harry was inspired to become an artist by seeing the beauty of the changing seasons of Mt. Hood in Oregon.

When the band broke up, Best moved to San Francisco in the 1890's with his brother, who also was an aspiring artist.  They both studied painting with Alfred Rodriquez.  He also worked on improving his cartooning ability, as he had been encouraged to do by cartoonist Homer Davenport whom he met while he still lived in Oregon.   Harry started submitting political cartoons to the San Francisco newspapers in 1891, and eventually worked for five years as a cartoonist.   Harry's brother Arthur started the "Best Art School" with Harry teaching the basic sketch class.

Around 1900 the successful landscape painter, Thaddeus Welch, asked Harry to accompany him on a painting trip to Yosemite.  He was so taken with the beauty of this valley, he immediately declared his intention to move there and went about getting permission to construct a home and studio at the foot of Bridal Veil Falls.  At that same location, he married Anne Rippey, and lived there for the remainder of his life.   From 1910 on he spent his winters in Arizona.  He also painted and traveled in Paris, Italy and Hawaii.

In 1907, Best had a one-man exhibit at the exclusive Washington D.C. Cosmos Club.  President Theodore Roosevelt bought a Mt. Shasta scene and had it hung in the White House.  Some of Best's most notable paintings were the sunset colors on Mt. Shasta and of course his beloved Yosemite National Park.

Harry's daughter, Virginia, married photographer Ansel Adams and the Best studio later became Ansel Adams Gallery.  Best died in 1936.

1. Artists in California, by Edan Hughes
2. Mt. Shasta as a Visual Resource, College of the Siskiyous
3. Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West, by Peggy and Harold Samuels

Biography from William A. Karges Fine Art - Beverly Hills:
Canadian born, Harry Cassie Best is most well known for his early paintings of the Yosemite Valley. Largely self taught, Best was inspired to paint after seeing Mount Hood, near Portland, where he was living.

Moving to San Francisco in the 1890's, Best first visited Yosemite in 1900, quickly vowing to move there permanently. He built a home and studio, which did become his full-time residence. His daughter, Virginia Best, would later marry landscape photographer Ansel Adams, and the Best homestead is now known as the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Park.

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