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 Orrin Augustine White  (1883 - 1969)

About: Orrin Augustine White
 

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Lived/Active: California/Illinois      Known for: landscape and genre painting, textile design, interior decoration

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Ad Code: 2
Orrin Augustine White
from Auction House Records.
Sycamores, Santa Barbara
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
It has been established that artists Charles P. Kilgore and Orrin A. White served as US Army camoufleurs in Washington DC during World War I. But it is not commonly known that they were friends of and served in the same camouflage unit as Regionalist painter Grant Wood. Years after the war, in 1933, the three artists exhibited together at Younkers Department Store in Des Moines, for which they were described as having "served in the same camouflage squad during the world war."

A news clipping is included in a series of scrapbooks,  put together by Nan Wood (the artist's sister), and is viewable online at the Iowa Digital Library's site for the Figge Art Museum Grant Wood Digital Collection. The source of the news article was not preserved, but it is most likely from the Des Moines Register and Tribune, accompanied by the penciled note "Nov 1933?"

The headline reads "3 Will Show Oil Paintings. Iowan's in Exhibit Here Next Week." Wood is the Iowan of course, while Charles P. Kilgore (cited in the article as John Kilgore) is described as being from Chicago and Orrin White from Pasadena.

"Stationed at Washington DC," the text continues, "the three young men were trained to camouflage cannons." There is also a brief paragraph in which Wood describes their camouflage work: "'It was a difficult job,' Mr. Wood recalls. 'They took airplane photographs before and after our work was finished. Grass photographs like velvet, every footstep leaves its mark. We had to dig the hole for the cannon and fix it so that not a mark showed.'"

Written and submitted by Roy R. Behrens, author of Camoupedia: A Compendium of Research on Art, Architecture and Camouflage (2009).


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A nationally known landscape painter, who spent the prime of his career in California, Orrin White was born in Hanover, Illinois.  He was artistically inclined at an early age but did not pursue an art career until he was in his thirties.  After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from Notre Dame University in 1902, he studied textile design at the Philadelphia School of Applied Art until 1906.

A few years were spent as assistant professor of chemistry at Portland University and as a textile designer in his parents' factory, the Hanover Woolen Mills.  He tired of this line of work and moved to Los Angeles in 1912 where he worked for an interior decorating company while painting landscapes in his leisure.

When his work was accepted for exhibition in San Francisco at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915, he decided to devote full-time to painting.  His art career was briefly interrupted during World War One when he served as a second-lieutenant in the 40th Engineers Camouflage.  Upon discharge, he returned to Los Angeles and from that time earned his living as a landscape painter.

He married in 1923 and the couple built a studio-home in Pasadena from where he made regular sketching trips to Palm Springs, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and into Mexico in search of subject matter.  White died in Pasadena on April 28, 1969 having acquired national renown.

Source:
Artists in California, 1786-1940
by Edan Milton Hughes

Biography from DeRu's Fine Arts:
Orrin White was born on December 5, 1883 in Hanover, Illinois.  Although artistically inclined at an early age, White did not pursue an art career until he was in his thirties.  After receiving a B.A. degree from Notre Dame University in 1902, he studied textile design at the Philadelphia School of Applied Arts until 1906.  A few years were spent as assistant professor of chemistry at Portland University and as a textile designer in his parent's factory. Tiring of this line of work, he moved to Los Angeles in 1912 and worked for an interior design company while painting landscapes in his leisure.

When his work was accepted for exhibition at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, he decided to devote full time to painting.  His art career was disrupted during World War I when he served as a second lieutenant in the 40th Engineers Camouflage.  Upon his discharge, White returned to Los Angeles and from that time earned his living as a landscape painter.  Married in 1923, he built a studio-home in Pasadena while making frequent sketching trips to Palm Springs.  The Sierras and into Mexico in search of subject matter.  White died in Pasadena on April 28, 1969 having acquired national renown.

Biography from Edenhurst Gallery (Artists M to Z):
Orrin Augustine White was a landscape painter born in Hanover, Illinois in 1883.  His art career began rather late in life after he pursued a career in chemistry as a professor at Portland University.  He also briefly helped in the designing of textiles at his parents textile mills.

By 1912 he was in Los Angeles painting in his leisure time, but by 1915, he was taking his career in art more seriously as is evidenced by his participation in the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915.  After this time it was his decision to devote his entire career to the pursuance of art, only interrupting this once during World War I during which time he served in the armed forces.

He settled in Pasadena and often made painting excursions into the Southern California countryside, in particular Palm Springs, the High Sierras, and into Mexico, where he painted village life. He had gained national recognition by the time of his death in 1969.  He exhibited widely throughout his career and won a silver medal at the Panama California Exhibition in San Diego in 1915.

Biography from William A. Karges Fine Art - Beverly Hills:
Orrin White was born in Hanover, Illinois, in 1883.  Following a brief career as an assistant professor of chemistry at Portland University, White moved to Los Angeles to work with an interior design firm.  He was painting in his leisure until 1915, when one of his works was accepted for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, and he was inspired to paint full-time.  Following service in WW I, White established a successful studio in Pasadena, achieving wide renown for his decorative landscapes.  Orrin White died in Pasadena in 1969.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.


Orrin White is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
The California Art Club
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915



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