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 Elizabeth Emerson Keith  (1838 - 1882)

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Lived/Active: California/Maine      Known for: still life, bird studies, landscape

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Still life with tazza and fruit
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Thomaston, ME in 1838. Elizabeth's father was a distant relative of Ralph Waldo Emerson and a successful ship builder and sea captain. Elizabeth was raised in affluence and received a well-rounded education, including art and languages. The Emersons later lived in Texas on extensive lands worked by slaves. When civil war was brewing, about 1860 the family moved to Half Moon Bay, CA where her father became justice-of-the-peace. She wed William Keith in 1864 and settled into a home on Clay Street in San Francisco. She taught her husband to paint in watercolor and encouraged his interest in pursuing an art career. Although content as a housewife, she exhibited locally and was active in the art scene. Mrs. Keith died of heart failure at home on March 8, 1882. Her rare works include still lifes of fruit, birds, and wild flowers. Exh: SFAA, 1872-82; Mechanics' Inst. (SF), 1874-82; Snow & Mays Gallery (SF), 1877; Calif. State Fair, 1881-86; Morris & Kennedy Gallery (SF), 1882. In: Oakland Museum; St Mary's College (Moraga).
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Ferdinand Perret Files; Art & Artists in Santa Cruz; William Keith, the Man & the Artist; The Californian, vol. 5, pp. 477-478; Keith, Old Master of California (Brother Cornelius); History & Ideals of American Art (Neuhaus).
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Thomaston, Maine, Elizabeth Keith painted still lifes of fruits and wild flowers, and is primarily remembered as a watercolorist who married William Keith and gave him painting lessons and encouraged his career.

She was a distant relative of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and her father was a ship builder and prominent sea captain. She was raised in cultured surroundings, and later lived with her family in Texas on an extensive slave operation. In 1860, the family moved to California, having left Texas because of Civil War tensions over slavery. Her father was the Justice of the Peace of Half Moon Bay, and in 1864, she married William Keith and devoted herself primarily to being a housewife. She died at age forty two, and little of her work seems extant.

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