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 Frederick Whymper  (1838 - 1901)

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Lived/Active: California / England      Known for: sea-landscape, survey-illustrator

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Frederick Whymper
An example of work by Frederick Whymper
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Best known for his watercolor seascapes and survey expedition illustrations, especially of Alaska, Frederic Whymper was an artist as well as an author and mining engineer. He was born in England in 1838. As a young man, he worked with his brother, Edward, on Alpine books.

In the late 1850s, he traveled as the official artist to the Waddington Expedition in British Columbia.

Between 1862 and 1867 he made numerous visits to San Francisco. Sailing from San Francisco in 1865, he was a member of the Russian-American Telegraph Exploring Expedition that traveled to Alaska. There he worked in and around Nulat, located on the Yukon River, and also along the Anadyr River in Siberia. Whymper's explorations also included travels to Kamchatka, and the west coast of the Okhotsk Sea. Based on his experiences he authored and illustrated in 1869 a book with the impressively long title: "Travel and Adventure in the Territory of Alaska, Formerly Russian America - Now Ceded to the United States - and in Various Other Parts of the North Pacific", now a collectable volume.

In 1899 he authored "The Heroes of the Arctic and Their Adventures", which included illustrations and maps of the Arctic regions, which was published with the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (London).

Whymper spent years in the San Francisco Bay area working as a mining engineer, and painted watercolors of the area as far south as San Jose. He continued to be active around San Francisco until 1882.

Whymper was associated with several organizations, among them the San Francisco Art Association, of which he was a charter member. He was also a charter member of the Bohemian Club. The Bohemian Club was a west-coast counterpart to the Sketch Club founded earlier in New York City, which later evolved to become the Century Association. Both clubs sponsored exhibitions and developed collections. At the time Whymper helped found the Bohemian Club in 1872, he was working in the editorial department of the Alta California newspaper. He and H.R. Bloomer were the two original charter members of the club who were practicing artists.

His work was exhibited at the Royal Academy (London, 1859-61), at the Mechanics' Institute Fair (1869, 1874), and at the Arriola Relief Fun (1872 San Francisco).

Today his works are part of the collections of the Oakland Museum, the Yale University Library, and the UC Berkeley Bancroft Library, among others.


Sources:
William H. Gerdts, "Art Across America"
Edan Hughes, "Artists of California,1786-1940"
Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"






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Frederick Whymper is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Notable Alaska

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