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 Esther Belle (Bracken) Heins  (1906 - 1993)



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Lived/Active: California/Pennsylvania      Known for: plein-air desert landscape, china painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted January 2006, is from Carol L. (Heins) Hewitt, the daughter of Esther B. Heins, Southern California artist.  She writes that her mother, "Esther lived in Southern California from 1943 until 1993 when she died at age 87, while living with me in Riverside, CA.  She was born January 18, 1906 in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Her maiden name was Esther Belle Bracken. Her father was a Methodist minister, and her mother was Kathryn (Long) Bracken. She had one brother, Orbin Bracken, now also deceased.

Esther married William T, Heins, a mechanical engineer, also from Pittsburgh, in 1927 and had two children, Carol LaVerne Heins and William T. Heins Jr.  She was a skilled classical pianist, having taught for two years (1925-6) and winning several competitions in the greater Pittsburgh area.

Her early art work began in Pennsylvania before she was married when she hand painted each piece of a delicate 80 piece china set, now a family heirloom. After her marriage while living in Oakmont, northeast of Pittsburgh, she began hand painting all her Christmas cards.  Later she took by correspondence, a commercial art course.

In 1943 the family moved to Lynwoon, a small community south of Los Angeles.  There Esther began her art career in earnest. She studied under various prominent Southern California artists, whose names I do not recall.  She loved oil but also did many watercolors as well. Landscapes , especially dessert, being her favorite.  Her paintings hung in banks, churches, libraries, art stores, and private collections.  Some of her oils are currently in her granddaughter's (Catherine Lanterman) home in Belton, MO.  I know one of them is in an art museum in OR. 

A patron of the arts who thought her work should have been mentioned in a book about prominent Southern CA artists wrote the editor, who in turn located me requesting her biography, but his letter got lost in moving. Esther B. Heins was a member of ASCAP.

Her husband. my father, died in 1956, and after that her interests turned to poetry.  She has about 750 published poems, mostly in Christian books and periodicals.  Her poems appeared several consecutive years in Our Western Worlds Greatest Poems by John Campbell and Yearbook of Modern Poetry compiled by Jeanne Hollyfield as well as being listed in The World Who's Who of Women.

Lastly, she has published 21 Christian songs."

These Notes from AskART represent the beginning of a possible future biography for this artist. Please click here if you wish to help in its development:
Born in Livermore, PA on Jan. 18, 1906. Heins moved to southern California in 1943 and settled in Lynwood. She studied locally with Millard Sheets and at the Otis Art Institute. She died in Moreno Valley (Riverside), CA on April 30, 1993. Her work includes desert landscapes. As well as a painter, she was also a poet and musician.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Interview with the artist or his/her family; Death record.
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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