The following biography was submitted in February 2006 by the artist's daughter Jean Smith:
Albert Marshall was born in Rutland, Vermont on May 11, 1891. He was one of four children of Maude and Nathan Marshall. When he was twelve, the family moved to the San Joaquin Valley and settled near Lindsay, California. In those days school books had to be purchased and resold at the end of the school year. His sister remembers his books were always in demand as there were many drawings in the margins, some showing his wonderful sense of humor. He graduated from Lindsay High School and attended the San Francisco Art Institute. While working to put himself through art school, one of his jobs was as a lamplighter. He was awarded a scholarship to study art in Paris, France but was unable to go due to lack of funds.
When World War I started, Marshall tried to enlist but was diagnosed with tuberculosis and told to go live in the mountains to recuperate. This was the beginning of a lifelong love of painting in the Sierras. One of his first trips to Giant Forest started from Lindsay in a buckboard and took two and a half days.
During the Depression and the start of World War II he lived in the La Crescenta area of Los Angeles. Around 1942 an orange grove he had in the San Joaquin Valley started to produce and he, his wife Eleanor and daughter Jean were able to leave the Los Angeles area and move to Three Rivers, California in the foothillls below Sequoia National Park. They eventually built an adobe house with a studio that had a view of Alta Peak where he painted and lived the rest of his life. He died on April 23, 1970.
The Marshall home was a yearly stop on many artists summer trek to the Sierras. Ansel Adams was a family friend. Marshalls' daughter Jean remembers summer visits to Adams' Yosemite studio to visit with Ansel and his wife Virginia. The noted photographer Cedric Wright was another frequent visitor to the Marshall home. Marshall belonged to the Sierra Club and was a member of a team surveying and mapping the Palisade Glacier for the American Alpine Research Fund. He also discovered a small glacier on Mt. Stewart in Sequoia National Park which he named the Lilliput Glacier.
He made frequent sketching trips to South California to paint the desert. Another of his favorite areas to sketch was in the eastside of the Sierras around Bishop and Lone Pine. He and Eleanor took many trips into the Sierras, walking and packing donkeys. Although primarily a California artist, he traveled throughout the West, painting in the Wind Rivers of Wyoming, the Canadian Rockies, and the mountains and glaciers of Alaska.
Originally painting in oils, Marshall switched to watercolors, a medium he stayed with for the rest of his life. He also mastered the technique of pen and ink, producing black and white sketches that reveal his unique style and vision of the California landscape. He is best known for his desert scenes with smoke trees; dramatic mountains with unique clouds; intricate shading of snow covered peaks and vibrant California foothills.
His work has been shown at the following:
Palace of Legion of Honor--San Francisco
Sierra Club Office
Francis Webb Galleries
Stanford University Art Gallery
Corner Art Shop-- Columbus and Jackson--San Francisco
Los Angeles Museum at Mission Inn--Riverside
Jonathan Club--Los Angeles
The following is an excerpt from an article published in The Jonathan, Volume LII, No.12, December 1985:
Albert Marshall Watercolors Acquired
By Paul Chevalier
The Art Committee is pleased to announce the acquisition of three Albert Marshall watercolors...
In the 1930's California watercolorists gained national recognition for their innovations to the medium. California watercolorists were among the first to move up to working on half and full sheets of watercolor paper. In their hands watercolors turned from a timid medium to works full of vigor and strength, almost rivaling oils. Marshall was part of this movement....
Marshall selected familiar subjects: windswept pines clinging to cracks in granite mountains; ice fields in the Sierra valleys, desert sinks enfolded by strlky naked mountains.
His main cntribution to the arts lies in his unique style. Marshall saw California as Georgia O'Keefe saw New Mexico or Sheeler saw Pennsylvania-with a hard edge precisionism. His scenes become almost puzzle-like in the separateness and distinctness of the colored shapes that combine to form landscapes. It is uniqueness of style which makes an artist important.....
End of quote.