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 Henry Otto Wix  (1866 - 1922)

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Lived/Active: Hawaii/California/New York/Connecticut / Germany      Known for: landscape, portrait and figure painting

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Ad Code: 4
Henry Otto Wix
from Auction House Records.
Green canyon
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Germany in 1866, Henry Otto Wix decamped from his native land in the late 1890s to escape being drafted into the army.  After studying art in New York, he was active in Hawaii as a portraitist.  His marriage ended in divorce there, leaving him in a state of severe depression and an alcoholic.

About 1910, he settled in San Francisco into a studio in the old Monkey Block (now the Transamerica Pyramid).  Wix sketched widely in California and made several trips to Mexico.  Destitute, he often would trade paintings for food or alcohol.  He was active in northern California until about 1920 when he was invited to stay at the estate of Adela Rogers St John in Santa Barbara.

He remained as her guest until his consumption of arsenic on March 13, 1922 ended his life.  An original and highly talented watercolorist and oil painter, he was inspired by Yosemite, Mount Tamalpais, Santa Clara Valley, Marin County, and the Monterey coast.

Wix's poetic depictions have earned him a lasting place in early California art.

San Francisco Art Association, 1902; Del Monte Art Gallery, 1912; Honolulu Art Society, 1920.

Collection: Santa Fe Railway
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
American Art Annual 1898; City Directory; Death record.
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:
A prominent painter in Hawaii in the early 20th century, Henry Otto Wix was born in Germany in 1866. He was most famous for his landscapes, frequently employing watercolor, though he was a talented oil painter as well.

Perhaps leaving Germany to avoid the draft as a young man, Wix traveled first to New York then to San Francisco in the early 1900s. He set up a studio in the latter city, which he used as a base for frequent trips to Mexico and Hawaii. While famous for scenes of Yosemite, Mount Tamalpais, and the Monterey Coast in California, he is most known for painting landscapes of Kauai in Hawaii.

In 1920 he joined his contemporaries in an exhibition sponsored by the Honolulu Art Society, which included paintings from the Old Masters as well as more modern works.

Sadly, in his later years Wix suffered from poor health and alcoholism, and he committed suicide in Santa Barbara in 1922.

Sources include: Forbes: Encounters With Paradise; Gerdts: Art Across America, vol. 3; Hughes: Artists in California 1786-1940.

Douglas Frazer Fine Art, Ltd.

By Sarah Nelson

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Henry Wix is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Artists who painted Hawaii

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