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Jessie Hazel Arms Botke

 (1883 - 1971)
Jessie Hazel Arms Botke was active/lived in California, Illinois.  Jessie Botke is known for peacocks, florals, landscape and mural painting.

Jessie Hazel Arms Botke

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Jessie Hazel Arms Botke
Born in Chicago, Jessie Botke is known for her exotic, highly decorated bird studies, especially elegant plumages of peacocks. She also did other subjects including Indian figures, genre, and desert landscapes, and usually painted in oil but worked in watercolor and gouache and frequently used gold and silver leaf in backgrounds.

She received art training at the Chicago Art Institute from John Johanson and spent a summer with Charles Woodbury in Ogunquit, Maine. She traveled in Europe and in 1911 moved to New York City where she became a student of Albert Herter and worked at Herter Looms until 1915, becoming a specialist in tapestry cartoons. She also worked with Herter doing all of the birds on a mural for the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco and with Herter's wife as a private home decorator.

Returning to Chicago, she married Dutch-born Cornelius Botke, and they worked on murals together in Chicago for the Kellogg Company and the University of Chicago, Noyes Hall.

By 1906, Botke had arranged an exchange of her paintings for a trip West on the Santa Fe Railroad to Arizona and California, and the Railroad acquired works titled "Hopi Indian Life" and "California Missions". She exhibited some of these western-subject paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago.

In 1918, the couple first visited California together, and in 1920, settled on a ten-acre ranch near Santa Paula, California, although they traveled in Europe from 1923 to 1925. In 1927, they moved to southern California, living in Wheeler Canyon near Santa Paula.

She was a member of the California Art Club, the California Water Color Society, and the Foundation of Western Art. She won numerous prizes including high distinction from the Chicago Art Institute.

Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
"An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West" by Phil Kovinick and Marian Yoshiki-Kovinick
Paul Sternberg, Sr., "Art by American Women"
Note from Julie Tunes:

I live in Thousand Oaks, about 35 miles from Santa Paula where Ms. Botke last lived. Legend around here is that in addition to doing those fabulous bird paintings, she and her husband kept exotic birds as well. ..Don't know how true that is, but one thing's for sure, there is a HUGE - and GORGEOUS mural - with all her birds, in the Oxnard Public Library. They also sell a postcard copy thereof. Worth the trip if you're an aficionado!

Biography from Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery
Jesse Arms Botke was born in Chicago in 1883. Her artistic studies began at the Art Institute of Chicago and continued afterward under J.C. Johansen and Charles Woodbury. In 1911 Jesse Arms Botke became employed by Albert Herter and assisted him with the mural he painted for the St Francis Hotel in San Francisco. It was here that Jesse Arms Botke formally connected with the subject matter that would dominate her work, as she was asked to execute all of the birds in the mural.

While visiting Chicago in 1914, Jesse met a Dutch-born artist named Cornelis Botke whom she married in 1915. After twelve years of semi-nomadic existence, the Botkes finally settled in Wheeler Canyon in southern California, outside of Santa Paula. This would be her home until her death in 1971. It was here that her characteristic work was developed: bold, decorative paintings of exotic birds.

Jesse Arms Botke was a member of many organizations and won many awards both in Southern California and her native Chicago, where she continued to exhibit work. Jesse Arms Botke's work can be seen in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, the Municipal Gallery, Chicago, Mills College, Oakland and the San Diego Museum. Murals painted by Jesse Arms Botke and her husband can also be seen at the headquarters of the I. Magnin Co. of Los Angeles, Woodrow Wilson High School in Oxnard, California, Noyes Hall at the University of Chicago and the Kellogg Factory in Battle Creek, MI.

Biography from William A. Karges Fine Art - Santa Monica
Biography photo for Jessie Hazel Arms Botke
Jessie Arms Botke was a native of Chicago, where she studied at the Art Institute. In 1911, she was employed with Herter Looms in New York, where she also assisted Albert Herter with a mural project at the St. Francis Hotel.

In 1915, she returned to Chicago where she met and married the artist, Cornelis Botke.  The Botkes moved to Carmel in 1919, and after an extended trip to Europe, settled on a ranch in Santa Paula.

Jessie Botke is best known for her bold decorative works of exotic birds.  Very much inspired by Japanese screens, Botke often utilized gold-leaf as background for her oil compositions.

Biography from Fleischer Museum
The paintings of Jessie Arms Botke are a unique and wonder-filled world all their own. Most often, they are pictures of birds, a large variety including white peacocks, blue peacocks, cockatoos, ducks, swans, geese, pheasants, and toucans, among others. The birds are shown in natural settings accompanied by carefully painted flora, with studiously observed renditions of leaves and flowers. Far from being mere pictures of birds and plants, her paintings are richly adorned with an abundance of minutely rendered detail: every petal, every leaf and every feather becomes an important element of the whole pictorial scheme.1

Painter, illustrator, printmaker and muralist, Jesse Arms was born in Chicago, IL on May 27, 1883. She began her studies at the Art Institute of Chicago, and continued with J. C. Johansen and Charles Woodbury. In 1911 she obtained employment with Herter Looms in NYC and assisted Herter with the mural in the St Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Upon returning to Chicago in 1915, she married Cornelis Botke.

The Botkes moved to Carmel CA in 1919. After an extended trip to Europe, in 1927 they settled on a ranch in Santa Paula, CA where she remained until her death on Oct. 2, 1971. She made a career of bold, decorative paintings of birds both in oil and watercolor, and often used gold leaf in her paintings.

From about 1917 her work won many awards both in Chicago and Southern California. Member: Calif. Art Club; Calif. WC Society; Nat'l Ass'n of Women Artists; Carmen AA; Chicago Society of Etchers.

Exhibited: AIC NAD; PAFA; LACMA; CPLH; Springville (Utah) High School, 1928; GGIE, 1939; Paris Salon. Awards: Cahn prize, AIC, 1918, Shaffer prize, 1926, Carpenter prize, Chicago Society for Sanity in Art, 1938.

Works held: Art Institute of Chicago; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; Municipal Gallery, Chicago; Mills College, Oakland; San Diego Museum.

Murals: I Magnin Co. of Los Angeles; Woodrow Wilson High School in Oxnard, CA; Noyes Hall at the Univ. of Chicago; Kellogg Factory, Battle Creek, MI

AAA 1929, 1933; Ben; Fld; YAMP; AAW; WWA; SCA; WAA; Sam; WWAA 1936-66; So. Calif, Artists, 1890-1940; Women of the West.21 American Impressionism California School, Fleischer Museum (cat.)2 Hughes, Edan Milton, Artists in California 1786-1940, Hughes Publishing Company

Biography from City of Ventura Municipal Art Collection
Jessie Arms Botke was one of the most celebrated decorative painters of the twentieth century. Born in Chicago in 1883, she studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. She moved to New York City in 1911 to work under the guidance of Albert Herter. During a brief trip to Chicago in 1914, she met Dutch-born artist Cornelis Botke whom she married in 1915. In 1927, she and her husband settled in Wheeler Canyon, California near Santa Paula.

She died at the age of eighty-eight in 1971.

Botke developed a special talent for depicting birds while preparing tapestry cartoons for Herter Looms in New York City. "It was love at first sight and has been ever since," she recalled.

Throughout her career, Botke was active in art associations including the California Art Club, the California Water Color Society and the National Association of Women Artists. She received numerous awards and exhibitions nationally for her work, which can be found in the permanent collections of museums throughout the United States including the University of Chicago and the Ventura County Museum of History and Art.

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About  Jessie Hazel Arms Botke

Born:  1883 - Chicago, Illinois
Died:   1971 - Santa Paula, California
Known for:  peacocks, florals, landscape and mural painting

Essays referring to
Jessie Hazel Arms Botke

The California Art Club
Women Artists