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 Mary Fancher Pettis  (1847 - 1930)

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: landscape, California Redwoods

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Mary Elizabeth Fancher is primarily known as Mary Fancher Pettis

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted January 2005, is from Berta Pettis, whose husband's great grandmother was Mary Elizabeth Fancher.

Mary Elizabeth Fancher was born November 20, 1847 in Elmira, New York. She married William Henry Pettis in 1868 and died in 1930 in San Ansolmo, California. She crossed the plains in a covered wagon at the age of 16, going from Rockford, Illinois to Napa, California. The trip took from April to August 1863.

We have the original letter she wrote to her friend, Emma of Elmira, NY upon her arrival in California. The letters describe everything her family encountered on the trip, including the attacks by Indians and sickness. Among paintings in our possession is one that she sketched (and later painted) while on this trip across the plains. It shows cattle grazing and tumbleweeds.

She is mostly known for her paintings of the California Redwoods. Most paintings are done in oil, but we also have one she painted in chalk of her young son, Edward Lothrop Pettis. She received a Silver Medal for her exhibit of paintings at the Alaska-Yukon Exposition. Her exhibit included two paintings of the California Redwoods and an oil study of California Grapes.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Elmira, NY on Nov. 20, 1847. Mary Fancher moved to northern California in the 1860s. After her marriage to Wm H. Pettis in 1868, she settled in Oakland. During the 1880s she began studying art in San Francisco at the School of Design and with Mary Curtis Richardson, Latimer, and Cadenasso. In her Oakland studio at 654 8th Street she produced many landscapes, often with redwoods. Mrs. Pettis moved to San Anselmo, CA about 1922 and remained until her demise on April 7, 1930. Exh: Calif. State Fair, 1896 (award); Oakland Industrial Expo, 1896; SFAA, 1901-13; Starr King Fraternity, 1905; Berkeley AA, 1908; Alaska-Yukon Expo (Seattle), 1909 (silver medal).
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Women Artists of the American West; California State Library (Sacramento); Mark Hopkins Inst. of Art Review, Dec. 1901.
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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