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 George Kennedy Brandriff  (1890 - 1936)

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Lived/Active: California/New Jersey      Known for: landscape, marine and still-life painting

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George Kennedy Brandriff
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
George Kennedy Brandriff was born on Feb. 13, 1890 in Millville, NJ. After moving to Orange, CA in 1913, Brandriff worked as a piano salesman. Shortly after his arrival he enrolled at the USC College of Dentistry and in 1918 opened a dental office in Hemet, CA. Without the benefit of formal training, he had been painting all his life. He later had a few art lessons from Anna Hills, Carl Oscar Borg, Jack Wilkinson Smith, and in 1928 abandoned dentistry to devote full-time to art. After building a studio-home in Laguna Beach, Brandriff taught painting (Orrin White was one of his pupils) and served as president of the local art association. His subject matter included beach scenes, marines, mountain landscapes, still lifes, and figures. Many of his paintings were of the sea and fishermen around the Newport Beach area. Stricken with cancer, his short career ended with his suicide on Aug. 14, 1936 in Laguna Beach. Member: AAPL; Calif. Art Club; Laguna Beach AA (pres. 1934); Foundation of Western Art. Exh: LA County Fair, 1927; Southby Salon (LA), 1927; Painters of the West (LA), 1928, 1929 (silver medal); Exposition Bldg (LA), 1928; Kanst Gallery (LA), 1929; Biltmore Salon (LA), 1929, 1930, 1933, 1936; Calif. State Fair, 1930 (2nd prize); Pasadena Art Institute, 1930, 1933, 1934; USC, 1933; Laguna Museum, 1989 (retrospective). In: Orange Co. (CA) Museum; Phoenix Municipal Collection; USC; Irvine (CA) Museum; LACMA. Murals: Mt Vernon Jr. High School (LA); Jonathan Club (LA); Inglewood (CA) High School; Polytechnic High School (Venice, CA).
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
California Impressionism (Wm. Gerdts & Will South); Plein Air Painters (Ruth Westphal); Southern California Artists (Nancy Moure); Artists of the American West (Samuels); Art Digest, 3-15-1931; Los Angeles Times, 4-13-1931; American Art Annual 1933; Painters & Sculptors in California: the Modern Era; So. Calif. Artists, 1890-1940; Who's Who in American Art 1936-39 (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.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in 1890, in Millville, New Jersey, George Brandriff moved to California in 1914 and enrolled in the University of Southern California's dental school. A weekend painter until 1928, he did a series of illustrations and murals. In Laguna Beach, he took lessons from Anna Hills and Carl Oscar Borg, and in 1923, began study with Jack Wilkinson Smith.

In 1929, he went to Europe and painted with Edgar and Elsie Payne. Returning, he explored still life painting as an introspective art reflecting social concerns. It was a rebellion against the romanticism of plein air painters, himself included. He took his own life, possibly because of serious illness.

Biography from William A. Karges Fine Art - Carmel:
George Brandriff was born in Millville, New Jersey, in 1890, and moved to Southern California in 1913.  Brandriff attended the University of Southern California’s School of Dentistry, and in 1918 opened a practice in Hemet, California.

Though he had no formal art training, Brandriff had painted all his life.  In 1928 he left dentistry to devote himself to art, teaching in Laguna Beach where he would serve as President of the local Art Association.

Stricken with cancer, Brandriff ended his life in 1936.

Biography from Fleischer Museum:
George Brandriff may have inherited his art talent from his maternal grandfather, a house painter in New Jersey who painted watercolors from memory of the moors and lakes of Scotland.  In school he drew portraits of the prettiest girls and made posters and acted in school plays.  His first job was in the music business selling pianos. In this profession he managed the piano department in a department store in Millville, New Jersey and in 1913, when he came to California he continued in the music business in Orange.

Deciding that was not the career for him, he returned to school at the age of twenty-four and in due time graduated from USC Dental College.  Following a short stint in the Army in Camp Greenleaf, Georgia, he opened a dental office in Hemet in 1918.  Brandriff turned to painting in earnest after meeting Frances Conder, the local school teacher who he married.  She continually commented on the beauty of the California landscape around them, and about a year after their marriage encouraged him to take lessons.

The lessons were brief to say the least: ten from Anna Hills of Laguna Beach and six from Carl Oscar Borg. The lessons intrigued him and for seven years, from approximately 1921 to 1928, Brandriff combined his dental practice in Los Angeles with painting on the weekends.  In 1928 he closed his office and turned to painting full time.  Praise came quickly for his works.

Instead of repeating the tried and true landscape vistas like most of the local artists, he was amazingly perceptive and inventive: figural studies, businessmen's legs walking down a street, waves breaking on rocks, scenes of the southwest (visited sometime in the early 1930s), yachtsmen sailing, clowns in circuses.  No particular subject became known as his "specialty."

From 1934 to 1936 Brandriff, who had for years been closely associated with the seaside art community, served as president of the Laguna Beach Art Association. This was cut short in 1936 when he drowned in the surf off Laguna Beach, possibly a suicide. 4

Moure & Smith, PSCA #3Arthur Millier, "Our Artists in Person," Los Angeles Times, April 19, 1931, 3-10-7,8 and 3-26-7. Frank Akenbrand, " Notes on Vineland, N.J. Artists 1861-1940,"Vineland History Magazine, XXIV, 1939, pp. 268-274; XXV, 1940, pp. 21-26, 82-89, 131-134.4 Southern California Artists 1890-1940, Laguna Beach Museum of Art Book

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George Brandriff is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
The California Art Club

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