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 Anna Althea Hills  (1882 - 1930)

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Lived/Active: California/Ohio      Known for: landscape, marine, genre and figure painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Anna Althea Hills
1882 (Ravenna, Ohio)
1930 (Laguna Beach, California)


Often Known For
landscape, marine, genre and figure painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Ravenna, Ohio, Anna Althea Hills was a prominent California landscape painter who was also remembered as a civic leader in Laguna Beach. In addition to painting in her native state, she was active in Arizona.

She was raised in Olivet, Michigan, and attended Olivet College.  She studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, Cooper Union in New York, and privately with Arthur Dow. After further study at the Academie Julian in Paris and traveling throughout Europe for four years, she moved to Laguna Beach in 1913 and was painting in Arizona as early as 1914.

The landscape of the West inspired her to adopt a light, colorful Impressionist palette.  In spite of a severe spinal injury, she took adventurous painting trips into remote mountain areas.  She also supervised a Sunday School for ten years, and was a six-year president of the Laguna Beach Art Association and helped raise funds to build the existing museum.

Her early works of genre and interiors were much darker than her later California landscapes and marine scenes.  She combined watercolor and oil and painted in a decorative style.

Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940
Phil and Marian Yoshiki Kovinick, Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West

Biography from Lawrence Beebe Fine Art:
Anna Althea Hills was born January 28, 1882 in Ravenna, Ohio. She studied at the Chicago Art Institute; Cooper Union Art School in New York City; she worked with Arthur Dow (1857-1922) and later studied at the Academie Julian in Paris. While in Europe she studied with John Noble Barlow (1861-1917).

In 1912 she moved to Laguna Beach, California becoming a leading member of the Laguna Beach art community. She was an active member of the California Art Club, held a membership at the Washington Watercolor Club and served at the Laguna Beach Art Association as president from 1922 to 1925 and from 1927 to 1930.

Hills was highly regarded as an art teacher and encouraged the study of the visual arts at the local public schools. Captivated and inspired by her new surroundings, she created atmospheric impressionist landscapes showing a reverence and appreciation of nature. The subjects of her plein-air landscapes varied from treescapes, the Laguna Beach coastline, Mission San Juan Capistrano, the vast Southern California and Arizona deserts, Santa Ana Canyon, arroyos and interior scenes.

Hills won the Bronze Medal at the Panama-California Exposition, San Diego in 1915; the Bronze Medal at the California State Fair, 1919; and the Landscape Prize at the Laguna Beach Art Association, 1922, 1923.

She died at the early age of forty-eight on June 13, 1930 in Laguna Beach, California.

Biography from DeRu's Fine Arts:
Anna Hills was born in Ravenna, Ohio on January 28, 1882. She was raised in Olivet, Missouri and attended Olivet College. She studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago, Cooper Union and the Academie Julian in Paris, and privately with Arthur Wesley Dow in New York.

After four years of travel and study in Europe, she settled in Laguna Beach. Anna was the founder and served as president of the Laguna Beach Art Association for six years and helped raise the funds to establish the present Laguna Museum of Art. A bronze plaque was placed there after her death on June 13, 1930 to honor the memory of her community work in Laguna.

Her early works are mostly dark tonal interior, genre and figure studies, whereas upon her arrival in California she turned her attention to painting landscapes and marines. Using a highly colorful palette, she painted many beautiful scenes of the Southern California coast and landscapes.

Biography from Edenhurst Gallery (Artists A to L):
Anna Althea Hills was born on January 28, 1882 in Ravenna, Ohio. She studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, Cooper Union in New York, the Academie Julian in Paris, and with Arthur Dow in New York. Hills ultimately settled in Laguna Beach, California where she served as President of the Laguna Beach Art Association. Hills' paintings are famous for their colorful, post-impressionistic style. She died on June 13, 1930.

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