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 Lorain Archibald Garner  (1904 - 1969)

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Lived/Active: California/South Dakota      Known for: sculptor-realist portrait, monument

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Archibald Garner is primarily known as Lorain Archibald Garner

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following biography is from Jeff Garner, son of the artist, of Santa Barbara, California:

"Arch" was born Lorraine Archibald Garner in Onida, South Dakota, on February 21, 1904 (he never went by Lorraine, but as Archibald, Arch, or Archie to many of his friends.) His family moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1910, and then southward, ending up in Los Angeles. He graduated from Long Beach High School in 1922.

In 1925 he took up drawing with the intention of becoming a commercial artist, and in 1926 was working as such for the "San Francisco Examiner." He became interested in sculpture during that time, and studied sculpture in San Francisco with Ruth Cravath, and then with Ralph Stackpole, at the California School of Fine Arts.

He returned to Los Angeles in 1927 and established a reputation as a versatile artist, working as a portrait sculptor and as a sculptor/designer for 20th Century Fox Studios. His versatility of style and scale, and his ability to sculpt in several media, netted him a number of commissions for public art throughout the 1930s and early 40s.

"The Astronomers Monument (1934) in front of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles is probably his most well known public work, having starred in many a Hollywood production. Other public works include "Law," a sandstone figure in the LA Federal Building (1940-41); "Centinella Springs," a wood bas-relief in the Inglewood, CA, Post Office (1937); "Justice," poured stone relief, exterior, Fresno, CA, Post Office (1939-40); "Transportation of the Mail," nine Terra-Cotta relief panels, exterior, San Diego, CA, Post Office (1938-39); "Saint Barbara," poured stone and metal figure (commission unknown and now lost-1939).

During this time he also executed numerous small pieces, for the movie sets and for private commissions, as well as teaching sculpture at Occidental College. His primary output was portraiture, however, not only during the 30s, but for the remainder of his life. His portrait style was strictly realistic, somewhat larger than life-sized heads. His subjects included many artists: David Alfaro Siqueiros, the Mexican muralist; John Decker, painter; Robinson Jeffers, poet; Yasha Frank, painter; Peter Hancock, photographer; Tse Wing Kwong, painter; Hank Ketcham, cartoonist.

In the 1950s he moved with his wife, Virginia, and his two children, to the Monterey Peninsula, where he continued to do portrait sculpture, and taught at Monterey Peninsula College. With his long time friend and fellow sculptor, Gordon Newell, and some other artists, he established a Sculpture Center on Cannery Row, where he and Gordon taught and worked.

During the 50s and 60s he worked with Hank Ketcham, designing and modeling toys, puppets and dolls for him, as well as designing and building the Dennis the Menace Playground in Monterey.

Toward the end of his life he worked again on large stone pieces, completing a black granite cat for the Herman Estate in Pebble Beach, and was working on a bear in white marble (which was then completed by Newell) for a private estate in the San Francisco area at the time of his death He died in his home in Pacific Grove, CA, on May 7, 1969.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Onida, SD on Feb. 21, 1904. During the 1930s Garner was a pupil of Stackpole and Cravath in San Francisco followed by study at Chouinard Art School in Los Angeles. During the Depression he fulfilled commissions for the Federal Art Project and was a sculpture designer for 20th Century Fox. An exponent of modern art, his style was termed "hard edge." The later part of his life was spent in Carmel Valley, CA in a unique house of his own design called Puente del Sol. He died there on May 7, 1969. Member: Carmel AA; Foundation of Western Art (LA). Exh: Pomona Fair, 1930 (2nd prize), 1933 (hon. mention), 1936 (1st prize); LACMA, 1931, 1934 (1st prize); Ilsley Gallery (LA), 1933. In: LA Museum of Art & History (Law); LA Federal Bldg (Justice); Carmel City Hall; Inglewood (CA) Post Office (bas-relief); San Diego Post Office; Fresno Post Office and Courthouse; Astronomers Monument, Griffith Park (LA).
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
California Arts and Architecture list, 1932; Who's Who in American Art 1938-41.
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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