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 Louise Beebee Oliver  (1912 - 1999)

About: Louise Beebee Oliver


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Lived/Active: California/Alaska      Known for: painting, illustration, design, teaching

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Louise Oliver Beebee is primarily known as Louise Beebee Oliver

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
"Figure with Architecture", 1936 watercolor, 14" x 22"
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Lousie Oliver was born on September 18, 1912 in  Rialto, California.  She died on May 18, 1999 in Huntington Beach, California.  She was a daughter of Walter Henry and Annie Oliver.

She created novels, stories, an autobiography, and numerous paintings and drawings with a unique style.  She married Frederick Lawrence Beebee (1912-1977) in 1935 and her first child (John Christopher Beebee) was born in 1941, followed by Jenifer Ellen Beebee, Emily Jayne Beebee, and Thomas Oliver Beebee.

Her early art education came from her mother, Annie Oliver, but there was never any resemblance in their styles.  Her increasing family responsibilities eventually eclipsed the time and energy she had for art and writing.  Her husband was chief engineer for the Deutsch Company, a large Los Angeles manufacturer.  She lived all her life in San Bernardino and Los Angeles Counties.  Her recognizable style was quite developed by the time she graduated from Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles.

When her father, chief civil engineer of the Grand Division of the Santa Fe Railroad, was killed in a railroad accident in 1921, a relative (chairman of the Board of the Santa Fe Railroad) funded a tour of Europe for Louise and her mother, where they spent some time viewing the “masters.”  Louise said afterwards that it was pure vanity to think that you could become a master by spending a few years learning to paint. She subsequently studied art at the University of California, Los Angeles and the Otis Art Institute and observed that when drawing with a pencil or crayon, it was like watching someone stir a pot.  Out of a mass of almost invisible lines an image would emerge by a process of natural selection, as some lines were reinforced and others ignored. (She was left handed.)

Although not dismissive of drawing skill, theory, and craftsmanship; she put more value on imagination and individual style.  For purposes of presentation her images have been divided into categories: juvenalia, drawings, costume designs, fashion designs, thematic, figure studies, portraits, watercolors, and cards.  In her more finished works she suggests the subject and then renders her emotional reaction through line and color.

There is a copy of “Autobiography of an Egotist” (about 1928) at The Kansas State Historical Society; and other relics from the family of Walter Henry Oliver and Annie Oliver.

These biographical notes were written and provided by the artist's eldest son, John Beebee, in 2008.  Louise Oliver’s artworks are for the most part in the possession of her children: John Christopher Beebee, Jenifer Ellen Beebee, Emily Jayne Beebee, Thomas Oliver Beebee (all living in 2008).

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Rialto, California on September 18, 1912, Louise Oliver was a resident of Hollywood in the 1920s and 1930s.   She studied locally at the Otis Art Institute.  Her married name was Beebe.

She was a resident of San Bernardino, CA until shortly before her death in Anchorage, Alaska on May 18, 1999.

Member: Painters & Sculptors of Los Angeles.
Exhibition: Junior Museum (LA), 1928; California Water Color Society, 1930 (2nd prize).
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
California Arts and Architecture list, 1932; American Art Annual 1933; Who's Who in American Art 1936-41; Social Security Death Index (1940-2002).
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.

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