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 Paul Lauritz  (1889 - 1975)

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: landscape-desert-coastal and portrait painting

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Ad Code: 2
Paul Lauritz
from Auction House Records.
Avalon Harbor, Catalina Island
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Larvik, Norway, Paul Lauritz became a noted painter based in California of portraits and desert landscapes. Early in his career, he was in Alaska.

He was raised in the picturesque Norwegian village of Larvik and exposed to famous painters from all over the world who came there for subject matter. One of them, an English watercolorist, gave him painting lessons in exchange for his family providing board and room, and local painters Fritz Thoulaw and Christian Krogh also encouraged him as a young man.

At age 16, he headed West and got a job in Vancouver, Canada, and then Portland, Oregon as a commercial artist doing maps, posters and decorations. In Portland, he married Mary Potterton in 1912, and then began a career as a serious portrait artist.

However, the lure of gold in Alaska took him and Mary to Sunrise Creek, where they lost money, and he vowed he would never again be distracted from his art work. He became close to Alaska's most distinguished artist, Sydney Lawrence, who was impressed by Lauritz' determination and encouraged his art career in every way.

Just after World War I, he and his wife moved to Los Angeles when the city was beginning to boom, and he had a studio from which he did portrait painting on Spring Street in the old Lyceum Theater. In 1920, they moved to the hills overlooking the city and built the first dwelling on Clayton Avenue. He developed a fascination for desert landscapes, and he and his wife did much exploring and extended camping in the deserts of the Mohave, Colorado, and Arizona.

At first, he did plein air painting but discovered that he got a stronger light on the canvas by completing the work in his studio. He used gigantic brushes, pre-war French bristles, and even used them to achieve minute strokes. He also used palette knives and his hand to achieve a textural effect and generally simple, basic colors.

He was active in the California art scene as a member of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Commission and President of the California Art Club, plein air landscape painters for whom he gave numerous painting demonstrations and workshops. His work was sold by the Artists Guild of America and the Vose Galleries of Boston. During World War II, the King of Norway purchased one of his marine paintings that was transported by submarine.

Source: Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"

Biography from David Cook Galleries:
Paul Lauritz was born in picturesque Larvik, Norway. The region’s beauty attracted many artists and Lauritz seized the opportunity to observe them as they worked. One of the artists, an English watercolorist, gave Lauritz private lessons in exchange for his family providing room and board. Lauritz also studied at the Larvik Art School before he left for Vancouver, Canada, at the age of sixteen. Lauritz later moved to Portland, Oregon, where he worked as a commercial artist.

In 1912, he married Mary Potterton and the couple soon moved to Alaska in search of gold. Although Lauritz did not find his fortune during the years spent in Alaska, he found inspiration for several paintings, and met Alaskan artist Sydney Laurence with whom he exhibited.

In 1919, the Lauritz's abandoned their quest for gold and relocated to Los Angeles, California where Lauritz opened a studio. He gained early recognition with his portraits, snow scenes and marines, one of which was commissioned by the king of Norway. However, Lauritz’s specialty became landscapes. In addition to painting along the coast of southern California, he traveled and painted extensively in the Sierra Nevada region as well as the deserts of California, Mexico, and Nevada.

Lauritz taught at the Chouinard School of Art and the Otis Art Institute. He served as president of the California Art Club for two years and was a member of the Painters and Sculptors Club, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Commission, the Laguna Beach Art Association, the Royal Society of Art in England, and the Salmagundi Club in New York.

Throughout his career, the primarily self-taught artist was bestowed with numerous awards for his work from museums, expositions, and clubs throughout California. Paul Lauritz died in Glendale, California in 1975.

Biography from William A. Karges Fine Art - Beverly Hills:
Paul Lauritz was born in a small art colony in Larvik, Norway. Exposed to art almost from birth, Lauritz was well skilled when he emigrated to Canada in 1905.

Working his way West as an illustrator, Lauritz settled in Portland before moving to Alaska during the Gold Rush. Failing as a miner, Lauritz met the well established Alaskan artist, Sydney Laurence. In 1919, Lauritz made his final move to Los Angeles, where he taught at the Chouinard and Otis Art Institutes.

Lauritz’s oeuvre includes deserts, portraits, landscapes and coastals.

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Paul Lauritz is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
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