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 Arthur Russell Hurtt  (1861 - 1938)

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Lived/Active: Minnesota/California/Wisconsin      Known for: landscape, set design, illustrator

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Ad Code: 4
Arthur Russell Hurtt
An example of work by Arthur Russell Hurtt
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Biography of Arthur Russell Hurtt
by Jean Cammon Findlay

Arthur Russell Hurtt, grandson of a Revolutionary War hero, Russell Smith, was born October 31, 1861, in Trimbelle, Pierce County, Wisconsin. His parents were William G. Hurtt, a mill owner, and Sarah Marcy Smith.

Hurtt began a sixty-year career in art in 1878. Among the schools he attended was the Art Students League of New York where he was a pupil of Douglas Volk and Irving R. Wiles. In France he studied with Alex Fournier.

He is variously known for illustrations, paintings (oil and watercolor), murals, and panoramas. His drawings and studies of foliage and trees were published in lithograph, and in the late nineteenth century were found in nearly all art stores and were used extensively by art students.

His real forte, however, was as a scenic designer, a painter of drop curtains and scenery for theatres in the United States and Canada. He worked on his own and for both Twin City Scenic Studio and H. J. Hanson in Minneapolis, and Edwin H. Flagg Scenic Company in Los Angeles. A painting in the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego won a bronze medal. He was a member of the Minneapolis Art League, Oakland Art League, and a charter member of the California Art Club.

For thirty years Hurtts home base was in Minneapolis. In 1909 he moved to Los Angeles were he lived until his death January 9, 1938. Tragically, for an artist, he went blind some years before his death.
Works by Arthur Hurtt (as known to Jean Findlay)

Life of Christ, Panorama, 500 life size figures. 1886

The following are works done for various theatres.

Street Model with 4 Building Tormentors
Watercolor on illustration board
10 15/16" x 15"
Signed verso: Arthur Hurtt
This work is in the Twin City Scenic Collection in the Performing Arts Archives of the University of Minnesota Libraries.

Scenery for Taken from Life, Peoples Theatre, Minneapolis, 1882

Scenery for Pinafore, Ideal Opera Company, Chicago, 1883

Drop Curtain, Academy of Music, Omaha, 1885

Drop curtain, Boyds Opera House, Omaha, 1885

Drop curtain, Tootles Opera House, St. Joseph, MO, 1885

Scenery for The Bijou Opera House, Milwaukee, 1885

Drop curtain, Worlds Theatre, Boston, 1892

Drop curtain, Soldiers Home Theatre, Togas, ME, 1892

Triumph of Spring
Drop curtain at Metropolitan Opera House, Minneapolis, 1895

Drop curtain, Broadway Theatre, New York City, 1895

Drop curtain and stock of scenery, Winnipeg Theatre, 1897

Scenery for The Showmans Daughter, The Grand Opera House, Minneapolis, 1897

Scenery for Carmen at The Belasco, Los Angeles, early 1900s

Scenery for Dick Ferris productions, the Auditorium, of At Piney Ridge, The Holy City, and The Sorceress, 1900-1907

The following three works were shown at the 4th Exhibition by the Minneapolis Art League, April 1898:

A June Day

Sacred Love

In Minnehaha Park

Title, size, and medium unknown
Bronze medal
Work exhibited at Panama-California Exposition, San Diego, CA, 1915-16

Title, size, and medium unknown
Work in State Building, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA
Ca. 1929

Titles of works known to be in the possession of the artist at the time of his death, but medium, size, and date unknown:

Choir of Nymphs
Notre Dame
Spring Shower
Lohr (2)
Mono Beach
Child Portrait 1886
Portrait of Winnifred S. (Cammon) Hurtt, his wife

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Arthur Russell Hurtt was born in Trimbelle, WI on Oct. 31, 1861. Hurtt was a pupil of Douglas Volk, Irving Wiles at the ASL in NYC, and Alex Fournier in France. After settling in Los Angeles about 1908, he painted stage scenery, murals, and panoramas. He was active in Los Angeles until his death there on Jan. 9, 1938. Member: Minnesota Art League; Oakland Art League.

Exh: Calif. Art Club, 1914-15; Panama-Calif. Expo (San Diego), 1915 (bronze medal); Potboiler Club (LA), 1923. In: State Bldg, Exposition Park (LA); Orange Co. (CA) Museum.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
American Art Annual 1915-33; Who's Who in American Art 1936; Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers (Fielding, Mantle); Southern California Artists (Nancy Moure).
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.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Arthur Hurtt is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
The California Art Club

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