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 Rowena Fischer Meeks Abdy  (1887 - 1945)

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Lived/Active: California / Austria      Known for: landscape, missions and history painting

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Ad Code: 3
Rowena Fischer Meeks Abdy
from Auction House Records.
The Coaling
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Vienna, Austria of wealthy American parents on April 24, 1887. Crippled at birth, one of Rowena’s legs was shorter than the other. During the 1890s she came to San Francisco and as a teenager began art instruction at the Mark Hopkins Institute under Arthur Mathews. In 1910 she married writer Harry B. Abdy and bought a home in Monterey where she further studied with Armin Hansen. From there she built a mission-style home in San Juan Bautista. In 1917 Mrs. Abdy moved to San Diego and by 1926 had returned to San Francisco to a home on crooked Lombard Street where she remained. Traveling about California in her large car which she had converted into a studio, she could sketch in comfort and privacy. After 1929 her work became more modern. Working in oil, watercolor and charcoal, Abdy depicted scenes of missions, mining camps, and early California during the Spanish rule. She died in San Francisco on Aug. 18, 1945 of alcoholism. Member: SFAA; Carmel AA; Club Beaux Arts (SF); Sketch Club (SF); AFA. Exh: Sketch Club, 1908; Del Monte Art Gallery, 1908-12; SFMA, 1920 (silver medal); Southwest Museum (LA), 1921 (1st prize); Calif. WC Society, 1922-35; Calif. State Fair, 1923 (prize); PAFA, 1924; Arizona State Fair, 1925, 1930 (1st prizes); CPLH, 1932 (solo); GGIE, 1939. In: Nevada Museum (Reno); Commercial Club (SF); Mills College, (Oakland); CPLH; Seattle Museum.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
American Art Annual 1919-33; Who's Who in California 1928; Who's Who in American Art 1936-41; California Art Research, 20 volumes; Artists of the American West (Samuels); Oakland Tribune, 8-19-1945 (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.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Known for her California landscapes in an early modernist style, Rowena Abdy did scenes of Yosemite, Southern California, the High Sierras, San Francisco, mining towns, missions, and Monterey.  She worked in various media, and in 1924 published ten watercolor paintings of the state.  She exhibited widely including the Arizona State Fair in Phoenix, the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Pennsylvania Academy.

Abdy was born in Vienna, Austria, and had a cultured childhood growing up in Europe. At age eleven, she moved to California with her family and spent the remainder of her life in that state, primarily in San Francisco but also lived in San Diego and San Juan Bautista.

She pursued art education at the California School of Design in San Francisco as a student of Arthur Mathews. In 1910, she married Harry Abdy, whom she had met in Monterey where she had spent much time painting. In 1913, she began to sketch systematically all over California, later acquiring a luxurious car in which she had a studio.

Women Artists of the American West by Phil Kovinick and Marian Yoshiki-Kovinick, p. 6-7.

Biography from William A. Karges Fine Art - Beverly Hills:
Born in Vienna to American parents, Rowena Meeks Abdy moved to San Francisco at the age of three, and in her late teens began her art studies at the Mark Hopkins Institute, under Arthur Mathews.

Abdy was drawn to the history and of the Monterey Peninsula, where she lived for several years.  While in Monterey she continued her studies with Armin Hansen, frequently including in her works the historic missions and structures from the Spanish era.

Rowena Abdy died in San Francisco on August 8, 1945.

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