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 Harold Harrington Betts  (1881 - 1951)

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Lived/Active: Illinois/Michigan      Known for: landscape, figure, genre and Indians painting

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An example of work by Harold Harrington Betts
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
From a prominent family of painters, Harold Betts became a painter and illustrator who made painting trips West in 1913 and 1929 and became especially known for his Grand Canyon paintings and depictions of Pueblo Indians.  Paintings from these western visits include Grand Canyon from Hermit Road, Grand Canyon from Pima Point, Taos Scene and Yosemite Falls.

He was born in New York City, the son and pupil of Edwin Daniel Betts (1847-1915) and brother to artists Grace (1885-1978), Edwin Daniel Jr. (1873-1915), and Louis (1873-1961).

Harold Betts lived in Chicago where he exhibited at the Art Institute, and in Muskegon, Michigan where he exhibited at the Hackley Gallery.  He also exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy.

Sources include:
Peggy and Harold Samuels, Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West
Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art

Biography from American Eagle Fine Art:
Harold Harrington Betts, (1881-1951), was born in New York City in 1881. He lived in Chicago, Illinois and Muskegon, Michigan. He was a painter and illustrator.
He studied under his father, Edwin Daniel Betts Sr.

He exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, 1897, 1902-1906, 1911-1912, 1914-1915, 1917, 1926-1927, 1929 and 1931. He additionally exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, 1912 and 1927, and at the Hackley Gallery, Muskegon, Michigan, 1929.

He specialized in painting the Grand Canyon and surrounding areas in Arizona, including the Pueblo Indians and their villages.

He is listed among the trader and visiting artists at the Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado, Arizona.  His visits were recorded in 1908 and 1909, and he returned for many visits for several years later. He is noted as painting a portrait of John Lorenzo Hubbell upon request from Mr. Hubbell sometime in the teens.

His works are exhibited in the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site, Ganado, Arizona.  He was the brother of Grace, Louis and Edwin Daniel Betts Jr.

Biography from Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site:
Harold Harrington Betts was an American painter and illustrator who was born in New York City in 1881.  He lived in Chicago, Illinois most of his life.  He was the son and pupil of Edwin Daniel Betts, Sr., who died in Chicago in 1915. Three of the other sons and one daughter also painted professionally, the most famous, according to one source, being Louis Betts.

Betts probably began painting in the Southwest about 1906.  He is best known for his paintings of the Grand Canyon and of Pueblo Indians.  His signature "H. Betts" followed by the year (sometimes the full year, sometimes only the last two numbers of the year) appears on most all of his paintings.  Titles of paintings listed in the Smithsonian's inventory indicate he worked at the Rio Grande Pueblos from Taos to Santa Domingo; in Colorado Springs, Colorado; at the Grand Canyon, on the Navajo and Hopi reservations, and in Southern California.  Most of these paintings are in the Santa Fe Railway collection.

A painting, Hostiles in Camp Near Oraibi, Arizona or "Hopis at Hotevilla," in the Hubbell Trading Post Museum, relates Betts' witnessing of that sad day in Hopi history, September 7, 1906, when the Hopis, called "hostiles", were driven from their homes by the Hopis called "friendlies."  The latter were friendly to the Federal government.  Betts described that scene in a letter to the Indian Service.

Exhibition records in Chicago show Betts to have been active from 1897 to 1931.  The exact year of his death is not clear?the range is between 1915 and 1929.


Benezit, E.  Dictionnaire Critique...Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs...Temps.  Paris: Librarie Grund.  1976.

Dawdy, Doris Ostrander.  Artists of the American West:  A Biographical Dictionary.  [1974] 3 vols.  Chicago: Swallow Press.  1985.

Samuels, Peggy and Harold.  Samuels' Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West.  New Jersey: Castle.  1985.

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Harold Betts is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Taos Pre 1940

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