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Granville Seymour Redmond

 (1871 - 1935)
Granville Seymour Redmond was active/lived in California.  Granville Redmond is known for wildfloral landscape and marine painting.

Granville Seymour Redmond

Biography from the Archives of askART

One of California's most notable Impressionist* painters and considered the first resident Impressionist of that state, Granville Redmond is known for his landscapes, many of them floral with poppies and lupines.  He was also one of the first Tonalist* painters of California, a subdued monochromatic* style of haze, fog and moonlight that reportedly "he was more drawn to". . .(Gerdts 27).   Redmond was also a popular personality and held friendships with many celebrities in the arts, despite certain physical handicaps of his own most especially deafness.

He was born in Philadelphia with the name Grenville Richard Seymour Redmond. At the age of two and a half, he became totally deaf due to scarlet fever, and lived his whole life without hearing or speech.  In 1874, the family moved to San Jose, and from 1879 to 1890, he attended the California School of the Deaf in Berkeley.  There his art teacher, Theophilus D'Estrella, who was also deaf, was a major influence, and Redmond decided to continue art studies at the San Francisco School of Design*.  His teachers included Arthur Mathews and Amedee Joullion.

Redmond distinguished himself, winning the W.E. Brown medal of excellence, and in 1893 was awarded funds from the California School of the Deaf, which made it possible for him to study in Paris at the Academie Julian* under Jean Paul Laurens and Benjamin Constant.  At the Academie Julian, he roomed with sculptor Douglas Tilden, another graduate of the California School for the Deaf.  While in Paris, Redmond distinguished himself once again, when in 1895 his large canvas, Matin d'Hiver, was accepted for the Paris Salon*.

At the California School of Design, he had become acquainted with many other artists including Tonalists* Gottardo Piazzoni, with whom Redmond made several painting trips around California, and Giuseppe Cadenasso, to whom he gave encouragement.  Piazzoni learned sign language, and he and Redmond were lifelong friends.  They roomed together in Parkfield, California, and also in Tiburon.  At that time, it was difficult for artists and would-be artists in San Francisco and in the West to find ways to practice their fine art.  Opportunities in commercial illustration were a little brighter, and Redmond and many other artists were drawn to newspapers and local magazines such as the Overland Monthly as sources of revenue.

In 1898, he returned to California, changed his first name to Granville, and settled in Los Angeles, where he painted many scenes of Laguna Beach, Catalina Island, and San Pedro.  He was married in 1899 to Carrie Ann Jean, a graduate of the Illinois School for the Deaf.  Together they had three children.  While living in Los Angeles, he became friends with Charlie Chaplin, whom he helped in perfecting his pantomime techniques.  Chaplin gave Redmond a studio on the movie lot, collected many of his paintings, and sponsored him in silent acting roles including playing the sculptor in City Lights, and a feature part in You'd Be Surprised.  He also got to know Los Angeles neighbor artists Elmer Wachtel and Norman St. Clair.  All three exhibited paintings with Laguna Beach titles at the annual Spring Exhibition held in San Francisco in 1904.   By 1905 Redmond was receiving considerable recognition as a leading landscape painter and bold colorist.

Redmond's early works in Los Angeles were mostly moody Tonal landscapes, scenes of farmers and their animals, and nocturnes similar to those by John Bond Francisco and other scenic painters in Northern California.  Redmond also sought subjects throughout the state's coastal regions, such as Silver and Gold (oil on canvas, Laguna Art Museum), and often summered in Monterey County, where he later settled in 1908.  In 1910, he moved farther north to San Mateo, becoming a member of San Francisco's art establishment, but he continued to exhibit in Los Angeles and to associate with that city's artists, returning to live there in 1918.

From 1910 to 1917, he spent time in various Northern California locations, studying and painting.  About the time he moved north, Redmond turned to rendering sweeping terrains covered with highly colorful wildflowers, especially the purple lupine and California's state flower, the golden poppy.  He developed a colorist method and brushwork linked to Impressionism, though he was motivated more by his subjects than by aesthetic theory.  West Coast critics at that time noted his use of Pointillism* and likened his art to that of Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro.  Although Redmond recognized the public's preference for his brightly colored poppy pictures, he generally preferred to paint darker, more poetic scenes.  Some of his finest paintings are of Catalina Island in Southern California, and of the oaks of Monterey County in Northern California.

His work is held in many collections including: Laguna Beach Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Stanford University Museum, the De Young Museum, the Bancroft Library at the University of California in Berkeley, The California School for the Deaf, the New York City Museum, and the Oakland Museum, where in 1989, a retrospective of his work was shown. He was also a member of numerous clubs, including The Bohemian Club of San Francisco, the California Art Club, The Laguna Beach Art Association, and the San Francisco Art Association.

Granville Redmond died on May 24, 1935 in Los Angeles.

Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
William Gerdts, "American Tonalism: An Artistic Overview", Essay in The Poetic Vision: American Tonalism, pp. 15-27, Spanierman Galleries, LLC. 2005

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

Biography from the Archives of askART
Born in Philadelphia, PA on March 9, 1871, Granville Redmond was stricken with scarlet fever and deaf at age three. After moving with his family to San Jose, CA about 1874, he attended the Berkeley School for the Deaf from 1879-90. At that school he was greatly influenced by Theophilus D'Estrella who taught him painting, drawing, pantomime, and encouraged him in his art studies.

Upon graduation, he entered the San Francisco School of Design where he studied with Mathews and Joullin. There he was awarded a gold medal and a scholarship for further study in Paris at Académie Julian under Constant and Laurens. While in Paris, he shared apartments with Gottardo Piazzoni and deaf artist Douglas Tilden. Some of his early paintings done in France are signed "S. Redmond."

Returning to California in 1898, he took up residence in Los Angeles. During this period his work was decidedly Tonalist but soon brightened into Impressionism. The years 1910-17 were spent in northern California where he was a resident at different periods of San Mateo, Monterey County, and Belvedere. In 1917 his ability in sign language was put to good use when he became a bit player in the silent movies in Hollywood.

Redmond became good friends with Charlie Chaplin and was instrumental in perfecting Chaplin's pantomime technique. He had a studio on the Chaplin movie lot and appeared in several of his movies, the most memorable role being the sculptor in City Lights. He also had a featured role in the 1926 film You'd Be Surprised.

Redmond died in Los Angeles on May 24, 1935. An Impressionist, he is internationally known for his landscapes of California's rolling hills with poppies and lupines as well as coastals, moonlit scenes, and seascapes.

Calif. Art Club; Laguna Beach AA.

San Francisco Art Association, 1893-95; Paris Salon, 1895; Calif. State Fair, 1900; Louisiana Purchase Expo (St Louis), 1904 (medal); Ruskin Art Club (LA), 1904; Steckel Gallery (LA), 1906 (solo); Blanchard Hall (LA), 1907; Del Monte Gallery (Monterey), 1907-13; Kanst Gallery (LA), 1908, 1909; Alaska-Yukon Expo (Seattle), 1909 (silver medal); Daniell Gallery (LA), 1911; Bohemian Club, 1912; PPIE, 1915; Brice-Lowe Gallery (LA), 1931; Beverly Hills Hotel, 1931; Ainslie Gallery (LA), 1933; Oakland Museum, 1989 (retrospective).

LACMA; Bancroft Library (UC Berkeley); Calif. School for the Deaf (Fremont); Mills College Art Gallery (Oakland); Oakland Museum; Stanford Univ. Museum; Nat'l Center of Deafness; De Young Museum; Calif. State Univ. (Northridge); Jonathan Club (LA); Orange Co. (CA) Museum; Irvine (CA) Museum.

Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Plein Air Painters (Ruth Westphal); American Art Annual 1925-33; Southern California Artists (Nancy Moure); Who's Who in American Art 1936; California Impressionism (Wm. Gerdts & Will South); Art & Antiques Nov-Dec 1982; So. California Artists 1890-1940; Art of California, Dec. 1989; Los Angeles Times, 3-22-1931 & 5-28-1935 (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.

Biography from Hauk Fine Arts
The following text was written by Steve Hauk of Hauk Fine Arts.

Something happened between deaf-mute artist Granville Redmond and the great performing artist Charlie Chaplin that remains a mystery to this day.
Though they were friends for seventeen years – Chaplin collecting Redmond’s paintings, Redmond appearing in Chaplin’s films – Chaplin did not mention Redmond in his autobiography.
Not a word. On Redmond Chaplin became mute.
This is a shame, because the deaf community takes such pride in the Chaplin-Redmond story.
The two met in 1918. According to the late artist Mireille Piazzoni Wood, it was her father artist Gottardo Piazzoni who introduced the two men.
Piazzoni had learned American Sign Language to converse with his good friend.

Redmond, and Chaplin, as we would expect given his talents, easily mastered ASL (American Sign Language). There’s a famous photograph of Chaplin signing to Redmond.
The friendship was immediate. Chaplin invited Redmond to move his artist’s studio into Chaplin’s film studio. Chaplin began acquiring Redmond paintings, decorating his home with them. Granville appeared in several Chaplin films, playing a sculptor in City Lights.
Mireille Piazzoni Wood was delighted when, as a teenager, she saw Chaplin perform The Dance of the Oceana Rolls in the 1925 Chaplin hit The Gold Rush.’
Mireille, who was born in 1911 and died in 2006, told me years ago:
When I was a little girl, Granville would come to our house in San Francisco and perform that routine at our dinner table. It made us laugh. When Chaplin did it in The Gold Rush, I recognized it immediately.’’
Albert Victor Ballin (1961-1932) was also an important member of the deaf community at that time, both as an artist and a journalist.
Born in New York, he studied art with H. Humphrey Moore and Jose Villegas. Ballin’s portrait of Thomas Gallaudet hangs in the university named for him – Gallaudet University, a liberal arts college for the deaf and hard of hearing in Washington, D.C.
Ballin was a writer for the national deaf community paper, The Silent Worker. In 1925 he wrote of visiting Redmond’s studio and seeing a man staring at a painting on an easel by Redmond.
Redmond gestured and signed to Ballin, "Mr. Charlie Chaplin!’’
Ballin wrote that Chaplin said of the Redmond painting:
"I could look at it for hours. It means so many things.’’
Intrigued by the relationship of Chaplin and Redmond, I wrote a play called The Floating Hat. It’s an attempt to discover what went wrong, because something obviously did. Was it artist egos?
As the characters developed, 'my’ Piazzoni had little ego, confident in himself and his work.
Chaplin, for all his gifts, could be unsure of himself –as it happens in the play – and then of course there were suspicions of his political sympathies at the time, a situation that would only grow worse for him, eventually driving him from the country.
As to Redmond, he felt pulled between his moody, harder to sell landscapes and his more commercial wildflower art, between his art generally and filmmaking. And there was the ongoing problem of finding his place in a speaking and hearing world.
When I asked a California art scholar what he thought about Chaplin ignoring Redmond in his memoirs, the scholar felt it could be ego, that Chaplin probably didn’t like crediting his artistic success to someone else, however slight that debt might be.
In The Floating Hat, which is in the Gallaudet University library and is carried on the Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc. website, the play wrote itself to a different conclusion.
'My’ Redmond decided his art wasn’t progressing because he found the filmmaking life seductive and it was limiting his growth as a painter. The scholar agrees that could have been a factor: "A landscape artist needs to be out of doors. I’m sure Redmond realized that.’’ It did take Redmond a long time to come to that conclusion.
In any case, when Redmond decides he wants to move on, Chaplin is offended. He doesn’t want to lose Redmond’s companionship. Chaplin visited Redmond’s painting studio frequently over the years, indicating a kind of dependence and desired comfort zone.
As Redmond leaves, Chaplin seeks advice from Piazzoni and then wonders if he is looking for studio space. Piazzoni, not about to step into a trap, says he isn’t.  ll three go their separate ways – Redmond soon to die – and the play ends.
But the mystery does remain.

Biography from Lawrence Beebe Fine Art
Granville Seymour Redmond was born March 9, 1871 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and died May 24, 1935 in Los Angeles, California. Redmond's family migrated from the East Coast to San Jose, California about 1874. As a result of becoming totally deaf at the age of two-and-one-half due to scarlet fever, he attended the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley, California between 1879 to 1890.

His talent as an artist was recognized and encouraged early by his art instructor, Theophilus Hope D'Estrella (1851-1929), and in 1890 Redmond enrolled at the California School of Design in San Francisco studying for three years under Arthur Matthews (1860-1945) and Amedee Joullion (1862-1917). He won the W. E. Brown medal of excellence, and in 1893 was awarded endowment funds from the California School of the Deaf that enabled him to continue his art studies at the Academie Julian in Paris under Jean Paul Laurens and Benjamin Constant.

His talent continued to blossom, and in 1895 his huge painting "Matin d'hiver" was accepted at the Paris Salon. In 1898 Redmond moved to California, and in 1899, he married Carrie Ann Jean, who attended the Illinois School for the Deaf. The Redmonds decided to make California their home, and at various times, they lived in Los Angeles, San Mateo (1910), Tiburon and Parkfield (Monterey County), California.

Deeply inspired by the California landscape, Redmond painted primarily coastal landscapes between Laguna Beach and Monterey, California. By 1905 Redmond had become widely recognized as a leading California landscape painter, known for his impressionist landscapes of Northern and Southern California. Through his distinctive style Redmond showed a remarkable understanding of color and depth, always painting with sympathies to the delicate beauties of nature. With a style that was sometimes compared to Monet and Pissarro by the art critics of his day, Redmond glorified California's sunsets with soft moody glows and he adorned the state's expansive coastal views and rolling hill scenes with golden poppies (the California State flower) and blue lupine. He painted enchanting coastal nocturnes, San Pedro harbor, the majestic oaks of Monterey and scenes of Catalina Island.

Redmond held memberships in the Bohemian Club, California Art Club, Laguna Beach Art Association and San Francisco Art Association. He won a medal at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904 and later the silver medal at the Alaska-Yukon Pacific Exposition, Seattle, 1909.

His works can be found in public collections including The Oakland Museum; New York City Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Laguna Beach Museum of Art; Stanford University Museum of Art; Mills College Art Gallery; California School for the Deaf; National Center on Deafness, California State University at Northridge; Springville Museum of Art, Utah; Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley.

Biography from Jeffrey Morseburg
Granville Redmond is a highly sought after Southern California painter.  Although he once said that he wished to be known as a "painter of silence and solitude", he became known as a premier painter of springtime in California, and his name is indelibly linked with the state flower, the California poppy.  Redmond's paintings of rolling hills of coastal California replete with majestic oak trees and blooming poppies grace virtually every major California collection.

The artist was born in Philadelphia, and after contracting scarlet fever as a baby he was rendered deaf.  After Redmond's family moved to California, he attended the California School for the Deaf where Theophilus Hope D'Estrella recognized his artistic talent and gave him the encouragement he needed and alsi taught him the art of pantomime.   Like many other prominent California painters, he studied at the California School of Design under Arthur Matthews and with funds donated from the California School for the Deaf, he traveled to Europe in 1893 where he attended the famous private atelier, the Academic Julian.

In 1895, one of Redmond's early works, the large and traditional Matin d'hiver was accepted at the Paris Salon.  When he returned to California in 1898, he first settled in Los Angeles, and he painted Tonalist landscapes of the Los Angeles basin and the San Gabriel Valley.

In 1908, Redmond moved North to Monterey, and then in 1910 to San Mateo where he began painting scenes of the San Francisco Bay.  As he matured, he gradually adopted a more Impressionist style, one that shows the influence of Pointillism, but none of the stylistic rigidity of the French practitioners. 

In 1917 he moved back to the sunny climes of Southern California where he felt his skills at pantomime - which he often used to communicate, because he was mute - could be utilized in the film business.  He became friends with Charlie Chaplin and instructed "The Little Tramp" in pantomime.   Redmond had a studio on Chaplin's lot and even appeared in some of his films, most notably as the white haired sculptor in City Lights.

Redmond had a studio deep in rustic Topanga Canyon, and in the last decades of his life, his sunny scenes of Southern California remained popular with collectors as Impressionism remained in style in the Southland long after it had been displaced by other styles elsewhere.

Jeffrey Morseburg
copyright 2008

Biography from DeRu's Fine Arts
Granville Redmond was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 9, 1871. Stricken with scarlet fever, Redmond was deaf at the age of three. After moving with his family to San Jose, California in 1874, he attended the Berkeley School for the Deaf from 1879 through 1890 where Theophilus D'Estrella taught him painting, drawing and pantomime. Upon graduation he entered the San Francisco School of Design where he was awarded a scholarship for further study in Paris at Academie Julian under Constant and Laurens.

Returning to California in 1898, he took up residence in Los Angeles. 1910 to 1917 were spent in Northern California. In 1917 he returned to Los Angeles and his ability in sign language was put to use when he became a bit player in the silent movies in Hollywood. He became close friends with Charlie Chaplin and was instrumental in perfecting Chaplin's pantomime technique. He had a studio on the lot and appeared in several of Chaplin's movies including "City Lights" and "You'd Be Surprised".

One of the foremost exponents of Impressionism in California, he is internationally known for his landscapes of rolling hills, poppy & lupine fields, coastals, seascapes and moonlit scenes. Redmond died in Los Angeles on May 24, 1935.

Biography from William A. Karges Fine Art - Carmel
Granville Redmond was stricken with scarlett fever at the age of three, from which he lost his hearing.  Redmond attended the Berkeley School for the Deaf from 1879-1890, where he was encouraged in his artistic interests.

Following graduation, Redmond attended the San Francisco School of Design, from which he was awarded a scholarship for further study in Paris.  Following his return to the U.S., Redmond lived in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, until work in Hollywood prompted him to settle permanently in Los Angeles.

Redmond used his sign language skills in bit parts in silent movies, and during this time befriended Charlie Chaplin. In fact, he had a studio on the Chaplin lot, and appeared in a number of his films.

Today Redmond is nationally known for his Impressionist landscapes featuring the California wildflowers, as well as his coastals, and Tonal moonlit scenes.

Biography from Edenhurst Gallery
Granville Redmond(1871-1935)was a landscape painter born in Philadelphia in 1871. As a child he contracted scarlet fever, which resulted in him being deaf and dumb at the age of three. He attended Berkeley School for the Deaf and the San Francisco School of Design.

After graduation he went to Paris and studied at the Academie Julian. His work was accepted into the Paris Salon and in 1894 he won an honorable mention. Returning to California in 1898, he stayed for a time in Los Angeles, and then returned to Northern California where he painted more tonal-style works, gradually leaning towards the bright poppyfied paintings for which he is also very well known.

He exhibited widely in Los Angeles and was taken under the wing of Charlie Chaplin whom Redmond advised in the art of pantomime. He died in 1935.

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Redmond portrait by Maynard Dixon

About  Granville Seymour Redmond

Born:  1871 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died:   1935 - Los Angeles, California
Known for:  wildfloral landscape and marine painting