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 Frances Hammell Gearhart  (1869 - 1958)

About: Frances Hammell Gearhart


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Lived/Active: California/Illinois      Known for: woodblock prints, watercolor painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Frances Gearhart
1869 (Gladstone, Illinois)
1958 (Pasadena, California)


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woodblock prints, watercolor painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Gladstone, Illinois on January 4, 1869, Frances Gearhart was a self-taught artist except for a few lessons from Henry Rankin Poor and Charles H. Woodbury.  Upon settling in Pasadena in 1888, she studied at the State Normal School (now UCLA).  She then taught English history at Los Angeles High School for many years.

She painted watercolors until about 1916 and then found her forte in woodcuts.  Her studio at 18 West California Street in Pasadena was headquarters for the Printmakers Society of California.

Her failing eyesight in the 1940s curtailed her artistic output.  Unmarried, she died in Pasadena on April 6, 1958.  Her colored wood block prints are highly prized by print collectors.

Laguna Beach Art Association; Prairie Print Makers.

Walker Building (LA), 1911; Kanst Gallery (LA), 1912 (solo); LA High School, 1916; USC, 1920; PM Society of Calif., 1920-41; LACMA, 1923; Ebell Club (LA), 1923; Friday Morning Club (LA), 1925; Pasadena Art Inst., 1925; In’tl PM (LA), 1926, 1929; Ilsley Gallery (LA), 1933; Washington (DC) Arts Club, 1935 (solo); Stendahl Gallery (LA), 1938; Cowles Museum (Spokane), 1990 (retrospective).

California State Library; Los Angeles County Art Museum; Toronto Museum; Rhode Island School of Design; Delgado Museum (New Orleans); Smithsonian Institute; Library of Congress.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
American Art Annual 1919-31; American Magazine of Art, Sept. 1930; Who's Who in American Art 1936-41; Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers (Fielding, Mantle); Artists of the American West (Doris Dawdy); Women Artists of the American West; Southern California Artists (Nancy Moure); Pasadena Star News, 4-7-1958 (obituary).
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Painter, watercolorist and printmaker, Frances Hammell Gearhart was born in 1869 in Henderson County, Illinois.  Color wood block prints were a specialty.  Studying watercolor in the East, she was a student of Charles Woodbury and Henry Rankin Poor.  She used his principles of design in her wood block prints depicting landscapes with expansive skies.

Gearhart first exhibited in Los Angeles, California in 1911.  She stayed there as a high school teacher and later had a studio in Pasadena.  She had two sisters in the Los Angeles area, May and Edna, who were both artists, and in 1923, they converted part of their Pasadena studio into an art gallery.  Frances then gave up teaching to devote more time to woodcuts, running the gallery and caring for their mother.  More of a homebody than her sisters, she did much painting around her region of California, including the Sierras and Monterey.

Frances and May often exhibited together, both showing at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  However, by the 1940s, failing eyesight caused her to stop working o woodcuts and paintings.

Frances Gearhart died in Pasadena, California in 1958.

Phil Kovinick and Marian Yoshiki Kovinick, An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West

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