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 Manuel Valencia  (1856 - 1935)

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: tonalist landscape painter, missions and adobes

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Ad Code: 3
Manuel Valencia
from Auction House Records.
Tocaloma Looking from Olema, California
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A painter of California history and western landscapes, Manuel Valencia was born in Marin County, California in 1856 on the Rancho San Jose, the Valencia hacienda.  The family received many land grants in the San Francisco area because of their ties to settlement history.  He was a descendant of General Gabriel Valencia, the first governor of the state of Sonora, Mexico under Spanish rule.  He was named for his grandfather, who arrived in California in 1774 and became administrator of the Presidio in San Francisco.

Valencia studied with artists including Jules Tavernier in the San Francisco area, where he lived his entire life, and attended what is now Santa Clara University.  He also spent some time in Mexico where he was a member of the Esquela de Bellas Artes de Mexico.

Early in his career, he was a commercial artist who designed calling cards.  After the 1906 earthquake and fire, Valencia and his family moved to San Jose, but he commuted to his studio in San Francisco.  There he was art editor of the "San Francisco Chronicle" newspaper under art patron M.H. de Young, for whom the museum in San Francisco is named.  War Cry, the Salvation Army newspaper, also hired Valencia as its first illustrator.

During the time he did illustration work in San Francisco, he kept studios in Monterey and Santa Cruz, did landscapes in Tonalist styles including moonlit scenes that were similar to those of Charles Rollo Peters and  indicated he had an awareness of the poetic aesthetic of James McNeill Whistler.

Around 1912, he began exhibiting in San Francisco galleries such as S & J Gumps and in New York at Macbeth Gallery and exclusive restaurants such as Delmonico's.  President William McKinley, who purchased one of his Yosemite paintings, was amongst his growing list of collectors.  He also did desert scenes of Arizona and New Mexico landscapes.  He remained in San Francisco until the early 1930s and then moved to Sacramento where he died on July 6, 1935.  His family scattered his ashes on Mount Tamalpais in Marin County.

In addition to the California capitol, Valencia's work can be seen in the Huntington Art Gallery, San Marino, California; the San Jose Historical Museum; and the Orange County Museum.

Carol Lowrey, The Poetic Vision: American Tonalism, (Spanierman Galleries)
Michael David Zellman, Three Hundred Years of American Art
Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940

Biography from DeRu's Fine Arts:
Manuel Valencia was born in Marin County, California on October 30, 1856 on the family hacienda called Rancho San Jose, which is now Hamilton Field.  A member of one of California's earliest families, Manuel was named after his grandfather who came to California with the Anza Party in 1774 and became administrator of the Presidio in San Francisco.  The Valencia’s were given many land grants in the San Francisco Bay area and a street near Mission Dolores is named in honor of his family. Manuel attended Santa Clara College and then established a studio in San Francisco.

He began painting when he was quite young and remained a self-taught artist except for a few lessons with Jules Tavernier locally and in Mexico City. The earthquake and subsequent fires in 1906 caused the Valencia’s to move down the peninsula to San Jose, however he commuted daily to his San Francisco studio and worked as a staff artist for the "San Francisco Chronicle" and as an illustrator for the Salvation Army Newspaper.

A prolific painter, Valencia is best known for his landscapes and historic scenes of Northern California, which often included nocturnal adobes, missions and pueblos. Following an operation, he died in Sacramento on July 6, 1935. His ashes were scattered on Mount Tamalpais.

Source: Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940

Biography from William A. Karges Fine Art - Beverly Hills:
Manuel Valencia was born in Marin County in 1856, to a land-rich early California family. His grandfather came to California with the Anza party in 1774 and became administrator of the Presidio in San Francisco.  Manuel was largely a self-taught artist except for a few lessons with Jules Tavernier.  Manuel maintained a studio in San Francisco, where he specialized in landscapes and historical works featuring the California Missions. A prolific artist, he was also a staff artist for the San Francisco Chronicle.

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