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Evelyn Dilly Hunt Nadeau

 (1898 - 1976)
Evelyn Dilly Hunt Nadeau was active/lived in California.  Evelyn Nadeau is known for still life, landscape, figure, and botanical painting, scientific illustration.

Evelyn Dilly Hunt Nadeau

Biography from the Archives of askART

The following description was written by the artist's daughter, Alice Allyn Thurman.

THE ARTISTIC CAREER OF EVELYN D. NADEAU, 8/27/1898-7/18/1976,  Southern California Artist Of Contemporary Fine Art and Scientific Illustration

Evelyn D. Nadeau, free-lance artist and illustrator was born August 27, 1898 in Uplands, California and died July 18, 1976 at the H. Fred Hunt Ranch in the Tepusquet, Santa Maria, California.  Evelyn Dilly Hunt, first child born to H. Fred Hunt and Lydia Bell Hunt was named Dilly because when he first looked down at her he said, "She is a dilly", and so she was.

Born into the well-known pioneer R.O. Hunt family of Santa Barbara and great grand daughter to Remi Nadeau of that Los Angeles family; talent showed itself early in pen and ink drawings at 13 years of age. Manuel Arts High School was THE place to go and many families went to great ends to send their children there and Fred was no exception. He sent Evelyn to live with a Doctor and his wife so she could attend. She went on to take extra courses at California Tech and then spent an 8-year apprenticeship with Ricardo de Artega Espino, well known sculpture and artist from Mexico. He was known for his palette knife oil seascapes and Evelyn was an avid student.

Evelyn painted easily and well in watercolor and oil doing still lifes, landscapes some nudes and life studies. From a California wild flower collection, succulents and cacti, to exotic plants such as the insect eating Black Lily, and large seascapes of Point Lobos and the haystack rocks at Cannon Beach, her range was as vast as she was prolific.

In the early 1930's she was a staff illustrator for the Southwest Museum of Los Angeles doing the intricate pen and ink drawings of Indian specimens collected from the archeological digs. Many of the illustrations published in their monthly publication The Master Key were also published in other scientific publications as well. During that same time period she was commissioned to restore damaged sculptures and artifacts of the California Missions; San Gabriel Arcangel, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Barbara, and La Purisima Concepcion to name a few.

During the war years she went to Washington D.C. doing cartographic drafting for the Navy and aerial mosaic work for the Army and Navy. She received the Army and Navy E and many glowing letters of thanks for her efforts from the Commanding Officer of the Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army, and Arial Fairchild Surveys, Inc.

My Mother had exhibits every where: in Highland Park at the Arroyo Seco Forum, the Southwest Museum, Exhibition Park, all over Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, Santa Barbara and San Francisco. When we moved from the art community on Mount Washington in Los Angeles to Fresno in the San Joaquin Valley, she enjoyed great popularity as her Fig Garden clientele showed their appreciation at art shows given by Margaret Romano her agent. These were social events covered by the press and whose invitation was highly sought by patrons of the Arts.

She gave art classes as well. She spoke fondly of all her students and kept their press! Some names I recall are Pragnell, Hill and Jacobs. She used to say Ralph Jacobs was the "star in her Crown"; she particularly loved his palette knife oil technique. Verification of her status as a California-born native was important to Evelyn. She joined organizations such as the Native Daughters of the Golden West and more Family History is available at the California Historical Monument number 659 The Stagecoach Inn. The Bell sisters, Lydia Bell and Minnie Bell were married in a double ring ceremony there; Evelyn's mother Lydia to H. Fred Hunt and Minnie to Andrew Cawelti.

Evelyn kept detailed accounts of her art show press releases. Documentation of who, where and what she was doing was important to her. Moving back to her beloved Santa Barbara she enjoyed (what she called) semi-retirement.  She taught art classes at her Mesa studio on Del Sol, had exhibitions for the Memorial Cancer Foundation on Bath Street, and was very much involved with the Domingo Art Show,  "Domingo en Santa Barbara", showing paintings at Plaza de la Guerra and El Paseo. Herb Kohrs Art Originals Gallery, "largest Gallery of Contemporary Art in Santa Barbara" was where she had many exhibitions as well as being on staff to paint murals for home or office.

One last move was "back home" to the Hunt Ranch in the Tepusquet; she thoroughly enjoyed living in the original (refurbished) adobe built by her father in 1912. Evelyn was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 1971. It rained lightly that morning settling the dust on those mighty oaks; I opened the door to let the soft breeze blow its aromatic combination of violets and blackberries in, as well as the sounds of the song the creek sings when it's happy, and Evelyn D. Nadeau gave a light sigh and was gone.

Website of the artist

Biography from the Archives of askART
Born in Uplands, CA on Aug. 27,1898, Evelyn Nadeau was artistically inclined at an early age. Nadeau began doing pen-and-ink drawings as a child.

After graduating from Manuel Arts High School in Los Angeles, she apprenticed for eight years with local artist Ricardo Espino. During the early 1930s she was an illustrator for the local Southwest Museum.

She died in the family adobe in Santa Maria, CA on July 18, 1976.

Working in oil and watercolor, she produced still life, landscapes, nudes, and botanicals.

City Hall (LA), 1940; Laguna Beach Art Association, 1940; Southwest Museum (LA), 1940.

Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Interview with the artist or his/her family.

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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About  Evelyn Dilly Hunt Nadeau

Born:  1898 - Uplands, California
Died:   1976 - Santa Maria, California
Known for:  still life, landscape, figure, and botanical painting, scientific illustration