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 Elizabeth Ethel (Ethyl) Mason  (1880 - 1953)



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Lived/Active: California/Colorado/Illinois      Known for: Native American sculpture, dioramas

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Ethyl Elizabeth Mason is primarily known as Elizabeth Ethel (Ethyl) Mason

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Known for her highly realistic and historically correct dioramas of western aboriginal sites, for her historical landmarks and sculpture, and for her professionalism as the Curator of the Santa Barbara Historical Society, Elizabeth Mason was born in Jacksonville, Illinois and raised in Denver.  Her parents were William Lee Mason, a jeweler, and Juliaette Mason.

She attended the Art Students League in New York as a painting student of Arthur Dow and also studied jewelry design.  Returning to Colorado, she lived in Denver and Manitou Springs, working as an artist and jewelry designer and in 1917 and 1918 as art teacher to disabled World War I veterans.  In 1920, she took a job in recreation at the U.S. Army Hospital in Adams County, Colorado.

The following year Mason and her parents moved to Santa Barbara, California where she lived for the next thirty years and earned distinction for her dioramas, which she did from 1925 to 1942, completing twenty-seven scenes.  Her first contracts were with the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles.  Among subjects of her work were daily-life activities of the Apache, Havasupai, Hopi, Klamath and Tlingit tribes.  She also did historical landmarks, and among her clients for these were the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Native Daughters of the Golden West.  As a sculptor, Elizabeth Mason did Indian subjects such as Chief Manitou and The Smoki Hope Dance.

In 1932, she joined the Santa Barbara Historical Society and for many years served as Curator and lectured widely on subjects she had researched.

She exhibited with the Painters and Sculptors of Southern California; Artists of Southern California, San Diego; and the Sculptors Guild of Los Angeles.

Phil Kovinick and Marian Yoshiki Kovinick, An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Jacksonville, IL on June 9, 1880. Mason grew up in Denver, CO. After studying at the ASL in NYC under Arthur Dow, she returned to Colorado. She then worked in Denver and Manitou Springs as a jewelry designer and teacher to disabled veterans. In 1921 she settled in Santa Barbara, CA where she was active with the local historical society for whom she served as curator and writer-researcher-lecturer on the area's early history. A spinster, she died there on June 13, 1953.

Exh: Denver AA, 1905; Sculptors Guild (LA), 1925; Southwest Museum (LA), 1926; Painters & Sculptors of LA, 1926; San Diego FA Gallery, 1927; Olympiad, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1932.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Southern California Artists (Nancy Moure); Artists of the American West (Doris Dawdy); Women Artists of the American West; California Southland, Feb. 1926; Santa Barbara News Press, 6-14-1953 (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.

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