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 Betty Guy  (20th century)

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Lived/Active: California / France      Known for: landscape, cityscape and seascape painting

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
"San Francisco, June 1975"
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc.:
Betty Guy (American, 20th-21st Century) is an artist primarily known for her international cityscape and landscape watercolors in pen & ink, as well as illustration work, monotype prints as well as limited edition prints.

She was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, and still resides there in a home high on a hill, with a spectacular view that overlooks San Francisco. “Watercolor has to happen almost magically," she says. "Watercolor is its own master--you go along with it".

Betty doesn’t go anywhere without her trusted pens from Paris and a bottle of ink, ready to paint and sketch, in whatever city she seems to find herself in. She travels to Europe often on annual trips and stays in hotels or inns that have a view outside their windows, "I love finding a room with a view, so rain or snow I can still work," she says."Her work is full of sunlight and air, the vagabond's feeling of freedom and as she expresses it 'the face of history in a facade.'"[1]

Betty went to Lowell High School and later studied at San Francisco State University and later entered the University of California at Berkeley for graduate work, taking art classes. She also furthered her studies at the Art Students' League in NYC, and at the Alliance Francaise and at the L'Académie de la Grande Chaumière, both in Paris.Betty has exhibited in many cities nationally and around the world.

Her first exhibit was at the Gallerie Henri Tronche on Rue de La Boetie, Paris, and her poster hung in the café & restaurant Les Deux Magots. Albert Pierre Sarrault (French, 1872-1962), the former 109th & 116th President of the French Council of Ministers of France, bought two of her paintings.

Betty's first museum exhibit was at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in 1961 and the late art critic Alfred Frankenstein of the San Francisco Chronicle called it, "The most delightful small show of the year." She also had a long time exhibit at the University at California, San Francisco (UCSF) Faculty/Alumni House, which ended in 2005, and once again showed here watercolors there from September-December, 2007.

Other exhibitions include; The Trojanowska Gallery, San Francisco, CA; the Yoseido Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; American Watercolor Society, NYC; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; American representative at the Bicentennial Exhibit, Amerika Hous, Vienna, Austria; Curacao Museum, Netherlands, Antilles; the American Embassy, Bonn, Germany (1988); The American Library, Bucharest, Romania (1989); and at Gump's, San Francisco, CA.

She was the company artist for the San Francisco Opera House for many years beginning in the early 1980's, doing the program covers and painting scenes from the company rehearsals. She has met some of her more famous clients via the Opera. At Gumps in San Francisco, CA, beginning in 1956, Betty had an exhibit and become the longest running artist who has featured and sold works through their retail location, before it moved to its Post Street, location.

She did commission paintings for the Port of San Francisco which were a series of watercolors of the Embarcadero among other San Francisco scenes. She painted the UCSF Founders Day invitations which featured a view of the Medical Center from the vantage point of Hugo Street in 1998. Betty loves to paint and has some favorite locations that she can paint again and again, and has stated, "If Monet can do his lilies paintings over and over, I can do Paris and Venice over and over."

The Queen of England (watercolor rendition of the Port of San Francisco) when she and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the city on their ship the Britannia in the 1980's, and Buckingham Palace later sent a letter to the director of the Port which read, "Thank you for the splendid painting by Betty Guy…The picture will always awaken some very happy memories of their stay in your lovely city.";

Placido Domingo; Gianni Versace; and John Steinbeck whom she also became good friends with. In the spring of 1959, Betty was commissioned by her friend and Steinbeck's editor Pat Covici, to do a painting of Steinbeck's home in England called "Discove Cottage", in Bruton.  She met Covici and his wife years earlier on a ship while traveling through the Mediterranean in 1954, and formed a life-long friendship them. The painting was to be a surprise Christmas present, and Steinbeck was so impressed with the finished painting that he returned the favor by giving her a copy of one of his books Winter of Our Discontent, with an inscription inside that read, "For Betty, don't just sit there...paint."  She later wrote a short book, Surprise for Steinbeck (1992), about her 1957 trip to England where she met Steinbeck and his wife; The Bodleian Library at the Oxford Library owns a copy of her book.

She's enjoyed dinner parties with artists, poets, authors and playwrights to include Arthur Miller, Saul Bellow and narrowly missed meeting Marilyn Monroe.

Commercial Work: The San Francisco Symphony; The San Francisco Opera; The Denver Symphony; The New Haven Symphony; The Port of San Francisco, CA; The Bank of America, Stockholm, Sweden; The International Chemical Company, Libertyville, IL; The Union Oil Company of California (Unocal) 76 Oil Company (now Chevron Corporation); The Heritage Financial Foundation of Beaver Creek, Colorado; The Sir Francis Drake Hotel; The Stanford Court Hotel, San Francisco, CA; The Mark Hopkins Hotel; The InterContinental Hotel, NYC; The Hyatt Regency Hotel; and the Royal Viking Cruise Line.

Written by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY,

Lowell Alumni Association Newsletter, Fall 2006;, San Francisco General Hospital Foundation, "Heroes & Hearts: Artists; Betty Guy";;, "Artist to Exhibit Watercolors from Around the World", August 14, 2007;, "Betty Guy"; Wikipedia; Trojanowska Gallery exhibit flyer and quote [1], with biographical information; and, Literary Legacies Blog entry Walking in the footsteps of great writers, "Steinbeck Connection - 2 & 3", May 27- 31, 2010, by juliedal.

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