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 Hilda Elma Preibisius  (1901 - 1981)

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Lived/Active: California/Ohio      Known for: portrait, still life and landscape painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Hilda Elma Preibisius (1901- 1981)

She was born in Finley, Ohio on April 26, 1901 of German parents, Henry Harms and Augusta Rhode Preibisius.  She had 3 brothers, Leroy, Lewis and Clarence.  She settled in San Diego with her parents in 1904 (San Diego Union 1/31/62) where her father became a very successful designer, architect and builder of private homes and commercial buildings. The 11 story St. James Hotel ( built by his Preibisius Company in 1913-1914 has been designated as a Historical Landmark in the San Diego Gas Lamp District.  The influence of her architect father instilled in her a strong desire to draw and later paint.  During the 1930’s Depression period she worked as an Artist Illustrator for the W.P.A. Curriculum Project for the San Diego City Schools. One of her notable Curriculum Project contributions was watercolor illustrations and a historical costume plate for a children’s book, Birds Were Different Then, by Engracia de Rosado.

She was an Artist Collaborator with well know San Diego Artist Belle Baranceanu on several projects.   In 1936 she was the Artist Illustrator for the popular school text El Camino Real by James Clarke.  During WW II she contributed to the War effort as an Illustrator for the San Diego Consolidated-Vultee (later Convair) Aircraft Co.  

She was a protégé of famous San Diego Artist Alfred R. Mitchell who considered her as one of the next generation artists (San Diego Union 2/11/1951).  She became one of the San Diego Art Institute first members and exhibited regularly in the San Diego Fine Arts Museum.  She was also a member of the San Diego Art Guild.

Hilda, a spinster, specialized in oil, chalk and water color portraiture, still life, landscapes and surreal painting from the 1930’s until the time she fell and broke her hip in the late 1970’s.  Her final years were spent in a San Diego convalescent hospital.  She died on July 1, 1981.

Source of information: Her niece, Alice Preibisius Sutorus

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 Ohio on April 26, 1901 of German parents. Preibisius settled in San Diego in 1904 and worked for the WPA during the Depression. A spinster, she died in San Diego on July 1, 1981. Exh: San Diego FA Gallery, 1927.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
San Diego Historical Society; 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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