Sophie Marie Alstrom Mitchell was born in Karlshamn, Sweden on Oct. 18, 1858. At age two Sophie moved with her mother to San Francisco where her mother soon wed Swen Alstrom, proprietor of the Oriental Hotel. The family then moved to Napa County where Mr. Alstrom had purchased the White Sulphur Springs Resort in St Helena.
Sophie graduated from Napa Ladies' Seminary in 1875 and then continued there as an assistant art teacher. At that school she developed a painting technique of applying transparent watercolor over a base of white paint which gave a translucent quality to her work. She also studied locally with Virgil Williams who maintained a country retreat near Mount St Helena.
Source: Edan Hughes, author of the book "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Women Artists of the American West; St Helena Star, 8-30-1940 (obit).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
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