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 Bertha Sophia Menzler Dressler Peyton  (1871 - 1947)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/Arizona/Illinois      Known for: southwest landscape, portrait and still life painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born and raised in Chicago, Bertha Menzler Dressler Peyton had the distinction of painting the first canvas acquired by the Santa Fe Railway Company.  Purchased in 1903, it was an Arizona landscape titled San Francisco Peaks.  The Company later acquired several more of her works including Evening on the Arizona Desert (1907); At Close of Day, Grand Canyon; (1912)  Desert Effects, Arizona and Sunshine and Shower, Grand Canyon, both in 1918.  Her Arizona painting, Bright Angel Trail, is  in the Chicago collection of the John H. Vanderpoel Art Association.  She also did paintings of Arizona Indians including the Hopi Indians at Walpi. 

Bertha Peyton received her art education at the Art Institute of Chicago, graduating in 1893, and she then studied for three years in Paris with Aman-Jean, Raphael Collin and Olivier Merson. 

Returning to the United States, she married Edward Dressler in 1900, and became established as a portrait painter, but their extensive travels in the West turned her interest to landscapes.  In 1903, at the invitation of Arizona pioneer Winfield Scott, she made her first trip to Arizona with her husband to northern Arizona, as her husband had been asked to do sketches of the Indians living there.  At that time, she painted the above referenced San Francisco Peaks.

Although she maintained residences in the Chicago and Gloucester, Massachusetts, she had a reputation primarily for Western desert landscapes, particularly Arizona including the Grand Canyon.  In Arizona, she was "captivated by the Arizona desert's myriad of unique forms, its ever-changing colors, and its permeating tranquility." (Kovinick, 217)

She and Edward Dressler divorced, and in 1912, she married Alfred Conway Peyton, a painter.  The couple traveled often to Arizona, although Gloucester became their home. 

She was widely exhibited including the Paris Salons, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Detroit Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Corcoran Art Gallery.

Sources include:
Phil Kovinick and Marian Yoshiki-Kovinick, An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West
Paul Sternberg, Sr., Art by American Women
Doris Dawdy, Artists of the American West, Vol. III

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.


Bertha Peyton is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915

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