1868 (San Francisco, California)
1948 (Carmel, California)
Mary DeNeale Morgan
Often Known For
landscape, marine and portrait painting
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|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
by Connie Wright
Mary DeNeale Morgan --
"horse and buggy artist"
M. DeNeale Morgan, as she signed her work, was one of Carmel's
distinguished plein air painters--a generous spirit who worked
tirelessly for various Carmel civic groups. Her mother's family
emigrated from Scotland to the Monterey area in 1856, homesteading a
ranch near Point Piños and then in the Salinas Valley. It was
partly because of her family's stories about the beauty of the Monterey
Peninsula that DeNeale Morgan came here to live and work.
Born in San Francisco in 1868, she was taken to Oakland in 1872, where
the painter and teacher William Keith was her first teacher. She
was precocious. In 1886 she enrolled in the California School of Design
in San Francisco and studied with Emil Carlsen and Amédée Joullin until
1890. She paid her first visit to Carmel in 1903. In 1910 she
returned to buy the studio and home of the late Sydney Yard, located
next to what is now the Cypress Inn on Lincoln. From then on through
the 1940's, her studio was filled with tourists, buyers, other artists
and friends. The building, ever expanding with new rooms and more
paintings, became a meeting place for civic activists.
Her style was her own, sometimes containing elements of the Barbizon
School, sometimes tonalist or California impressionist, but always
distinctly her own, usually in vivid color with broad, bold strokes,
sometimes laid on with a palette knife. When pressed to say what
school of painting she belonged to, she replied that she was a "horse
and buggy artist." She refused to be typed. Her favorite
subject was the Monterey cypresses. When asked if she didn't tire of
that subject, she replied that she "would stick by her cypress trees
till they sink into the sea, or--what is just as tragic and final--be
In 1915, she won a Silver Medal at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco; in 1928 she was selected by Scribner's Magazine
as one of the nation's foremost women artists. She rarely
travelled outside Carmel, never outside the U.S., but had one-woman
shows in San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C. and Chicago.
A community activist, she was a member of the Save the Dunes Committee,
which met in her studio to oppose a developer's plan for a big tourist
hotel at the foot of Ocean Avenue. Morgan, Fred Bechdolt and
Talbert Josselyn were selected from the group of forty to approach
Frank Devendorf about buying the property. "Devy" agreed to sell the 15
acres to the city for the grossly undervalued price of $15,000.
The voters agreed to spend the money and the developer was stymied.
DeNeale Morgan was also an original member of the Forest Theater, for
which she designed sets. Wearing her distinctive purple cloak,
she was active with the Carmel Arts and Crafts Club, the forerunner of
the Carmel Art Association. During World War I, she was the director of
the Carmel Summer School of Art, an offshoot of the Art and Crafts
Club. It was she who invited William Merritt Chase, distinguished
New York artist and teacher, to teach at the Summer School, greatly
increasing Carmel's reputation as an art center, both here and on the
East Coast. She was a founding member of the Carmel Art Association and
of All Saints' Church, where she attended communion services every
morning at 8 o'clock. During World War II, service men who were
stranded in Carmel on Saturday nights could always find a bed in her
studio and breakfast the next morning. Every Thursday afternoon she cut
out portrait silhouettes--upwards of four hundred--for patients at the
Fort Ord Hospital.
She always painted on location so that she could capture the light,
color and mood of her subject. DeNeale Morgan died on Oct. 10, 1948, at
the age of 80. Four days before, she was at Point Lobos painting a
cypress. After her death, the unfinished canvas was hung in her studio.
Brother Cornelius, William Keith's biographer, wrote in Morgan's copy
of his book: "To Miss DeNeale Morgan, master painter of the strange
form, color and texture, the weather beaten toughness, the ancient
fantastic weirdness, in a word, of the truth of our beloved Monterey
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Mary DeNeale Morgan was known for her pastel paintings and etching and as a longtime California artist, left a great legacy as a teacher and organizer as well as painter. In addition to pastel, she worked in tempera, oil, and watercolor, and painted sand dunes, adobes, landscapes, and the wind-swept cypresses of the Monterey Peninsula. |
She was born in San Francisco, California on May 24, 1868, and as a child of two years, moved to Oakland where her father, Thomas Morgan, was the city engineer. She was a favorite pupil of William Keith from her youth until the time of his death. Morgan also studied at the School of Design under Virgil Williams, Soren Carlsen, Amedee Joullin and Arthur Mathews.
In 1896, she opened a studio in Oakland and, for a brief time, taught art at Oakland High School. In 1910, she settled in Carmel, where she had had a studio from 1904, and from Sydney Yard, she bought his studio home located on Lincoln near Seventh Street. In Carmel, she became a vital part of the art community. She was a pupil in William Merritt Chase's summer classes there in 1914, and from 1917 to 1925 was director of the Carmel School of Art. She was also a founder of the Carmel Art Association.
Living for many years on this Monterey peninsula, she was a prolific painter in watercolor, oil and pastels of the region's geography and historic architecture. Among her paintings were scenes with cypress trees, sand dunes, adobe structures and ocean views.
Exhibition venues included the San Francisco Art Association, California State Fair, Del Monte Art Gallery, California Watercolor Society and Carmel Art Association.
Among her affiliations were National Association of Women Painters
& Sculptors, San Francisco Art Association, California
Watercolor Society, Laguna Beach Art Association, American
Federation of Artists, and Carmel Art Association.
In addition to
numerous museums, her works are in the collection of Union High School
at Monterey, Monterey City Hall and Presidio, Sunset School at
Carmel, Salinas High School, Harrison Library at Carmel and Society
of California Pioneers.
In 1928, the editors of Scribner's magazine named her as one of the nation's foremost women artists. During World War II, she made weekly visits to nearby Fort Ord to sketch the servicemen.
Unmarried, Morgan died in Carmel on October 10, 1948.
Phil Kovinick and Marion Yoshiki Kovinick, An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West
Edan Hughes, Artists in California 1786 to 1940
|Biography from William A. Karges Fine Art - Beverly Hills:|
|Mary DeNeale Morgan was born in San Francisco in 1868, where she was a favorite pupil of William Keith. Morgan is best remembered for her contributions to the Carmel art community, where she moved circa 1910. |
Morgan attended summer classes in Carmel that were led by William Merritt Chase in 1914, and was the Director of the Carmel School of Art from 1917-1925. Equally facile in watercolor, gouache, and oil, Morgan’s works often feature the old adobes, and the coast of the Monterey Peninsula.
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