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 Arthur Atkins  (1873 - 1899)

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: tonalist landscape painter, coastal views

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Ad Code: 4
Arthur Atkins
from Auction House Records.
Pont Neuf . . . l'Horloge
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Arthur Atkins was a self-taught painter who created rich landscapes in tonalist style of California, especially the foothills of the Bay Area. His art career was short but prolific, and excerpts of reviews of his work "suggest he was one of Northern California's most promising artists. Unfortunately Atkins died young, and most of his work was destroyed in two major fires" (Dawdy 12).

Atkins was born in Queens Ferry, England, in 1873, but came to America in his youth. He settled in San Francisco and briefly attended the School of Design.

He had his first exhibition in 1896 and in the same year showed at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art and at his own studio on Jackson Street. He traveled to Europe on the earnings he made from sales of his art, and he spent time painting in Wales and France. He wrote letters from Paris, many which convey his anxiousness to return to the Piedmont Hills, his favorite painting place.

Atkins returned to California in 1898 and died in the early part of 1899 in the city of Piedmont, California. Much of his work was destroyed in a studio fire in the 1890s. As a result of his short life and lack of available examples of his work, his art has become quite rare.

Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Doris Dawdy, "Artists of the American West", Volume III

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Queens Ferry, England in 1873.  Atkins immigrated  to the U.S. in 1891 and came to San Francisco shortly thereafter.  Although he studied briefly at the local School of Design, he remained essentially a self-taught artist.  He worked steadily after his first show in 1896 and the following year held a successful show at his Jackson Street studio.  Sales were so good he was able to make a trip to Europe where he painted in Wales, England, Paris and the South of France.  After returning  to San Francisco in August of 1898, he died the following January 8 in Piedmont.  A tonalist, his landscapes have an alluring beauty and for the most part are in the tawny, low-toned color of the foothills of the San Francisco Bay area.  In the 1890s a studio fire destroyed many of his paintings, and even more were lost in 1906.  These disasters, coupled with his short life span, make examples of his work rare. 

Exh:  Calif. State Fair, 1895; Mark Hopkins, 1896-97; De Young Museum, 1897; Vickery, Atkins & Torrey (SF), 1900, 1905, 1910 (memorials).  In:  Oakland Museum (Piedmont Hills). 
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
CAR; AAW; H&I; PF; Ber.
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.

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