Gideon Jacques Denny
(1830 - 1886)
Gideon Jacques Denny was active/lived in California, Delaware. Gideon Denny is known for marine, landscape and portrait painting.
Born in Wilmington, DE on July 15, 1830. As a young man Denny was a sailor of small craft on Chesapeake Bay and his enthusiasm for ships never waned. Arriving in San Francisco with the Gold Rush in 1849, he worked as a teamster on the waterfront and was a member of the Vigilance Committee. After two years in California, he opted for an art career and then traveled to Milwaukee where he was a pupil of Samuel Marsden Brookes. After six years of study there, he returned to San Francisco and established a studio on Bush Street. When Brookes moved to San Francisco in 1862, the two friends shared a studio for many years. Although he did a few portraits and landscapes, it was his paintings of the clippers and shipping activities on San Francisco Bay that were to bring him success and fame. These views often include ship wrecks along the West Coast done in a Turneresque manner with vaporous effects of smoke, steam, and clouds. He never married and remained a resident of San Francisco except for visits to Hawaii, Canada, and South America. Denny died of malaria while a member of a surveying party in Cambria, CA on Oct. 7, 1886. Upon his death a memorial exhibition of his works was held at the Society of California Pioneers. Member: Bohemian Club; Pacific Union Club; Society of Calif. Pioneers; San Francisco Art Association. Exh: Mechanics' Inst. (SF), 1864, 1869, 1871 (silver medal); Calif. Art Union, 1865; Snow & Roos (SF), 1869; San Francisco Art Association, 1872-86; Calif. State Fair, 1879, 1882, 1902. In: Oakland Museum; Bohemian Club; Monterey Peninsula Museum; Crocker Museum; De Young Museum; CHS; UC Berkeley Museum.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Kahn Collection cat.; Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs, et Graveurs
(Bénézit, E); Yesterday's Artists on the Monterey Peninsula
; SF Call, 10-9-1886 (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
A California painter of marine scenes with ships shown in detail, he also did some portraits and landscapes but received most attention for his maritime subjects, especially activities in San Francisco Bay.
He was born in Wilmington, Delaware and as a young man, worked on ships in the Chesapeake Bay. From that time, he was fascinated by marine life. He was one of the few noted San Francisco artists in the late 19th century who had not studied in Europe. His reputation was for independence, and he arrived in California in 1849 at the time of the Gold Rush. He worked as a teamster on the San Francisco waterfront and then, determining to get art training, left California to spend six years in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he took art lessons from still life painter, Samuel Marsden Brookes.
Then he returned to San Francisco and established a studio for many years on Bush Street with Brookes who followed Denny to California.
His work is in numerous collections including the Stanford University Museum in Palo Alto and the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento.