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Hanson Puthuff

 (1875 - 1972)
Hanson Duvall Puthuff was active/lived in California, Missouri.  Hanson Puthuff is known for desert landscape, portrait and mural painting.

Hanson Puthuff

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Hanson Puthuff
Hanson Puthuff was born in 1875 in Waverly, Missouri.  He is primarily remembered for his California landscapes and desert paintings, and his involvement in the Southern California art world in the early 20th century.  His paintings of rolling hills, canyons, and atmospheric effects of Southern California, the Sierras, and desert scenes are widely admired.

Puthuff childhood was filled with both uncertainty and strife.  He was born to a struggling carpenter, Alonzo Augustus Duvall, and his wife, Mary Anne Lee.  When Puthuff was two, his mother died and he was given to the care of her close friend Elizabeth Stadley Puthuff, a young Civil War widow who supported herself as a seamstress.  She became his surrogate mother, and he later assumed her name. Puthuff remained close to her, with the exception of a period of eight years, when his father took him at age six to live with various relatives in Kentucky, and later with himself for a short time in Oklahoma.

After studying at the Chicago Art Institute, Puthuff and his foster mother moved to Colorado in 1889. She was responsible for his art training in 1893 at the University of Denver Art School and then the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.  Through friends and relatives she then helped him start a career in commercial art,-first as a mural painter in Peoria, Illinois, and later as a poster and sign painter for an advertising firm in Denver.

He arrived in Los Angeles in 1903, as an established pictorial artist, and soon had a job at five dollars a day.  He worked for the next twenty-three years as a commercial artist, primarily painting billboards as well as a theater scene painter.  He also was a significant teacher of private art classes.  His great love, however, was "plein aire" landscape painting, which he took up full time in 1926.

Easel painting grew quite naturally out of his professional commercial work.  When painting billboards, Puthuff would be transported by horse-drawn wagon out to a billboard and deposited for the day.  When he and his helpers finished sign painting, they would often set up easels and sketch and paint while they waited for the return of the wagon.  When Puthuff first came to California he had been mainly interested in figural painting, but he found this new land so paintable that he concentrated almost exclusively on landscapes from that time on.

Shortly after leaving commercial art, the Santa Fe Railroad offered Puthuff one of his first commissions.  He was asked to paint a series of different views of the Grand Canyon, which the railroad would use for advertising and promotional purposes. These works, Grand Canyon, were shown to the public in a 1927 exhibition in the offices of the railroad.  They remained there for many years until their purchase by the Fleischer Museum.  Puthuff also painted backgrounds for the Santa Fe Railroad model train exhibits in various cities.

Living in La Canada and Corona del Mar, Puthuff painted desert scenes throughout California and frequently accompanied Edgar Payne on painting trips to Canyon de Chelly in Arizona.  He loved the bright colors and open space of Navajo country.

In addition to his lyrical landscapes, which he often painted along the coast south of Los Angeles, in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, and among the desert buttes of the Southwest, Puthuff was responsible for the backgrounds of the habitat groups at the Los Angeles County Museum of History, Science, and Art.  This work led to a commission for Puthuff to paint backgrounds for the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial in the American Museum of History in New York.  After weeks of work both at Roosevelt's Elk Horn Ranch in North Dakota and in New York, he completed three panoramic dioramas depicting the ranch.

His work is often considered to be stylistically akin to that of William Wendt, although with a wider chromatic spectrum.  Puthuff is also particularly identified with the depiction of eucalyptus trees, as are Jean Mannheim, Dana Bartlett, Edgar Payne, and Anna Althea Hills, and Paul Lauritz.

In addition to his own artistic achievements, Puthuff was an activist in the art community.  He was partly responsible for the formation of the two most important artists' organizations of the period, the California Art Club and the Art Students League of Los Angeles, which he helped found with Norwegian- born art writer and close friend Antony Anderson, art critic for the Los Angeles Times.  Puthuff had introduced study from the nude in his private classes in 1903, and in 1906 these were transferred to the Blanchard building in Los Angeles, and the school later took the name the Art Students League of Los Angeles.

He became associated with a group called the Garvanza Circle, named for the Garvanza district of eastern Los Angeles, which included such artists as Fernand Lungren, Carl Oscar Borg, Maynard Dixon, Granville Redmond, Elmer Wachtel, and others who were inspired by southwestern cultural heritage.

Puthuff's private life spanned two thirty-year long marriages.  The first began in 1910, when he married May Longest, a commercial artist and co-worker.  They had five children, Lee and Duvall, identical twin boys, and later, Robert, Paul, and Matilda, and the family lived in the Los Angeles area.  After May's death, Puthuff married Louise Ashbridge White in 1940, a relationship that lasted until his death thirty-two years later.

He won numerous awards including a Diploma from the Alaska-Yukon Exposition in 1892 and Silver Medals at the Panama-California Exposition in 1915.  He was a member of numerous clubs, including the California Art Club, the Laguna Beach Art Association, the Los Angeles Watercolor Society, the Pasadena Society of Artists, the Salmagundi Club of New York, the San Francisco Art Association, and the Southern States Art League.

Hanson Puthuff died May 12, 1972, in Corona del Mar, California.

Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
Donald Hagerty, Canyon de Chelly
Wesley Jessup and Jean Stern, Hanson Puthuff, California Colors
Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940

Biography from the Archives of askART
Biography photo for Hanson Puthuff
Born in Waverly, Missouri on Aug. 21, 1875, Hanson Puthuff studied at the Art Institute of Chicago before moving to Colorado in 1889 to study at the University of Denver Art School.

He arrived in Los Angeles in 1903 and for 23 years painted billboards for Foster & Kleiser.  After 1926, he was able to abandon commercial art and devote full time to fine art and exhibitions.

Puthuff died in Corona del Mar on May 12, 1972.  He is nationally famous for his lyric landscapes of the southern California deserts.

Palette & Chisel Club (Chicago); Pasadena Society of Artists; Salmagundi Club; Southern States Art League.

Blanchard Gallery (LA), 1906, 1907; Del Monte Art Gallery, 1908-12; Alaska-Yukon Expo (Seattle), 1909; California Art Club, 1912-23; Paris Salon, 1914 (bronze medal); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1914, 1917 (solos), 1929; Panama-California Expo (San Diego), 1915 (silver medal); San Francisco Art Association, 1916; California State Fair, 1918 (gold medal), 1919 (silver medal), 1926, 1930; Ten Painters of LA, 1919; Laguna Beach Art Association, 1920-21 (1st prizes); Southwest Museum (LA), 1921 (2nd prize); California Water Color Society, 1921-23; Leonard's Gallery (LA), 1923; Springville (UT) High School, 1924 (1st prize); Painters of the West (LA), 1925 (silver medal), 1927 (gold medal), 1930 (bronze medal); Painters & Sculptors of LA, 1926; Ebell Club (LA), 1927; Pacific Southwest Expo, 1928 (silver medal); Foothill Artists (La Canada), 1936; GGIE, 1939; Whittier AA, 1944; AIC, 1945.

Hackley Museum (Muskegon, MI); Pasadena Art Inst.; Laughlin Theatre, Long Beach (murals); CHS; Municipal Collections of Denver and Phoenix; Gardena (CA) High School; Orange Co. (CA) Museum; Fleischer Museum (Scottsdale); LACMA; Irvine (CA) Museum.

Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Art in California (R. L. Bernier, 1916); California Impressionism (Wm. Gerdts & Will South); History & Ideals of American Art (Neuhaus); American Art Annual 1919-33; Impressionism, The Calif. View; Artists of the American West (Samuels); Who's Who in West, 1956; Southern California Artists (Nancy Moure); Los Angeles Times, 9-21-1930; So. Calif. Artists 1890-1940; Artists of the American West (Doris Dawdy); California Design, 1910; Who's Who in American Art 1936-41; Who's Who on the Pacific Coast 1951; Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs, et Graveurs (Bénézit, E); Plein Air Painters (Ruth Westphal).

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.

Biography from DeRu's Fine Arts
Hanson Puthuff was born in Waverly, Missouri on August 21, 1875. Puthuff studied at the Art Institute of Chicago before moving to Colorado in 1889 to study at the University of Denver Art School. He arrived in Los Angeles in 1903 and for 23 years worked as a commercial artist painting billboards while painting landscapes in his leisure.

In Southern California, he lived in Eagle Rock, La Crescenta, Corona Del Mar and La Canada. He was a co-founder of the California Art Club and the Laguna Beach Art Association. After 1926 he was able to abandon commercial art and devote full time to fine art and exhibitions. He won dozens of awards including Diploma from the Alaska-Yukon Exposition, 1892, and two Silver medals from the Panama-California Exposition, 1915. He is nationally famous for his lyric interpretations of the Southern California landscapes and deserts.

Puthuff died in Corona Del Mar on May 12, 1972.

Biography from William A. Karges Fine Art - Carmel
Biography photo for Hanson Puthuff
Hanson Puthuff was born in Waverly, Missouri, in 1875. His formal art studies were at the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of Denver Art School. Puthuff moved to the Los Angeles are in 1903, finding work as a billboard illustrator, a job he would keep for over 20 years.

Concurrently, Puthuff would sketch and paint in his free time, and in 1926, he was able to devote himself entirely to his art. Known as a classic Southern California Plein Air artist, Puthuff exhibited extensively, including shows at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Art Association, and the Paris Salon, where he earned a bronze medal.

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About  Hanson Puthuff

Born:  1875 - Waverly, Missouri
Died:   1972 - Corona del Mar, California
Known for:  desert landscape, portrait and mural painting