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Ernest Etienne Narjot

 (1826 - 1898)
Ernest Etienne Narjot was active/lived in California / France.  Ernest Narjot is known for frontier genre, mural, portrait paintings.

Ernest Etienne Narjot

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Ernest Etienne Narjot
A painter in a highly detailed, traditional style, Ernest Narjot painted landscapes, mining scenes, portraits, and several murals for churches and public buildings.  By the 1880s, he was considered one of California's foremost painters and also illustrated books of early California life.

He was born in St. Malo, France with the full name of Ernest Etienne Narjot and was raised in Paris by artist parents.  He received formal art training there but was distracted from that pursuit by his interest in gold mining, which lured him to America.

He was part of the California Gold Rush of 1849 but was unsuccessful.  For thirteen years, he was with a mining expedition to Mexico and painted mining and landscapes along the Arizona border.  He also married a Mexican woman, Santos Ortiz.

By 1865, he settled in San Francisco where he had a studio on Clay Street and painted landscapes, portraits, and sketches of gold miners and Indians and did murals and frescoes for churches and public buildings.  A major achievement in his career was the commission to decorate the ceiling of Leland Stanford's tomb.  While working on this project, he splashed paint in his eye which led to blindness.

He died impoverished, and many of his works were destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.  His wife was forced to sell cheaply many of his paintings to support their family, but many Bay Area artists helped the family with a benefit sale of their works including William Keith, Thomas Hill and Arthur Mathews.

He was a member of the San Francisco Art Association.  His works are in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum and the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley.

Source: Edan Hughes, Artists in California

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About  Ernest Etienne Narjot

Born:  1826 - St. Malo, France
Died:   1898 - France
Known for:  frontier genre, mural, portrait paintings